The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary can speak.
During a recent strategic planning project, we were challenged on our philosophy of Three Part Models. Why three? Why not five or ten? Why are we restricted to three in this process?
This happens quite often. Clients are looking for some sort of support beyond our “just cause you say so.” I get it. It’s is hard and challenging to develop the discipline around a limiting factor. Despite the incredible success we have had in over 30 years of applying our ELEGANT SIMPLICITY planning model, I still understand the need to have some type of reassurance before the application of the discipline. So here you go:
· We simplify the description of our 26 letter alphabet to the ABC’s.
· There were three blind mice.
· The genie gave you three wishes.
· You get three strikes and you’re out.
· My favorite, The Three Stooges.
· Einstein’s E=MC2.
· Newton’s enumerated the movement of the universe with the Three Laws of Motion.
· The proton, electron, and neutron.
· Light can be reflected, refracted or absorbed.
· Waves all have frequency, wavelength, and cycles.
As far back as the 1950’s research has been done on making visual connections. In 1953 a project at Michigan State found that the brain finds it relatively easy to grasp three items but pushed to a fourth the brain gets confused. This visual clue gave rise to the ELEMENT, FONT and COLOR formula used in graphic design to this day.
Dr.’s Baddely and Hitch, in the epic study of working memory in 1974, developed the multi-component model of working memory. They defined two “slave” systems for short-term memory and one Central Executive Function that supervises information integration and coordinates the slave systems.
In 1956 Miller worked on memory and brain capacity determining that young adults were able to process up to 7 elements or “chunks” but discovered that as you matured and gain more and more knowledge the capacity lessened to three “chunks.”
As we age, the fantastic microprocessor that is our brain starts to search for no more than three parts to find context, connections, and meaning.
So at the end of all this support material, remember one thing and one thing only – Find the disciplined thinking that when applied, will shift your strategy from the complex to the simple and watch the impact!