Two shades of grey
An interesting photo from Mark Zuckerberg caught my attention on a flight to London this week. It was a photo of his wardrobe with multiple copies of only two types of garment; a dark grey hooded sweatshirt and a lighter grey shirt.
The new dad returning from parental leave, explained that he only ever wears the same clothes because he likes them, and it saves his thinking power for other more important issues; creating the best communities that he can through Facebook.
He's not the only successful billionaire to have done this, the late Steve Jobs did exactly he same; only ever sporting his trademark black turtle neck sweater and faded jeans.
Even President Barack Obama adheres to the effectiveness of taking out the need to make minor decisions in favour of more important ones. "You'll see I wear only grey or blue suits... I'm trying to pare down decisions... because I have too many other decisions to make... You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can't be going through the day distracted by trivia," he said.
Too much choice is a common complaint; but there is a growing divide between real choice and forced choice, which is no choice at all.
A seemingly good choice example in our industry is the variety of ways to contact an organisation - most companies have a strap line with endless choices, a bit like a row of medals. Real choice would be when they all worked and linked up, but can we honestly say that when we search in vain for a phone number, trawling websites and discovering expensive third party intervention solutions; to then resort to an angry tweet; with a response offering a friendly web chat, that this is choice?
So Mark and Steve and Barack Obama have it sussed; their time is valuable and not for wasting on things that aren't important. Increasingly customers are feeling the same. Those organisations that waste our time with ill thought out, ineffective contact offerings, causing the customers to exert more energy than the company, will quickly discover that these customers will vote with their feet and take their choices and valuable time elsewhere.
And of course these inefficiencies add significant and often hidden cost to organisations in both public and private sectors.
Now back to those critical decisions, will I have a skimmed latte or a full fat mocha – cookies or wafers? Some choices are very good!