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Complexity made simple

Partner Richard Chapman explains how this April principle can unlock real change.

It’s hard to think of an organisation that isn’t faced with enormous complexity in the choices and challenges it faces. Strategy doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it has to accept the nuance of the real world. It must be embedded in the realities of the organisation and its environment.

Therefore, the choices are by definition complicated, multi-faceted and intricate. This complexity is then magnified when it comes to embedding the strategy and subsequent change across what could be a very diverse organisation.

This isn’t an easy problem to solve, and it can be tempting to just try to cut through the complexity, to boil things down to an overly simple approach, to look for a silver bullet that will unlock the change you’re looking for.

The reality is that you must embrace the complexity to make real sense of it, to uncover the things that will make a difference.

At April, we always work our hardest to bring the different elements together in smart ways, to find the sum of the parts that is greater than the whole. We look for ways to dramatise the themes, the priorities, the fields of action as simple choices, visualising and communicating them in ways people can take away, digest and implement.

We’ve worked with one FMCG client which operates across a wide range of categories at different stages of maturity internationally, has brands at different levels of premium and therefore margin in highly diverse global markets, from rapid growth future bets to slower growth, but huge, volume drivers.

There are more things they could look at and prioritise than they could ever possibly have capacity to address, so how do they know what to do? How do they decide what the most important ideas and messages are?

The key for them was the ambition and its implications – knowing what they wanted to achieve and where they were trying to get to focused attention on the things that would get them there. It brought perspective and clarity in a noisy and confusing world.

As our client found, there may be multiple brands clamouring for attention, a hundred hungry markets to feed, a dozen burning platforms to address, but by placing the ambition at the heart of decision making and strategy, we could find clarity in the choices, and the simplicity in the complex.

Find out more about how April works on our website how page.

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