I have a love/hate relationship with McDonalds. On one hand I love the fact that I can stop off on any long car trip in the morning and get a decent (albeit unhealthy) breakfast with pretty good coffee. But as an organization, I hate that they can’t seem to embrace what they really are: cheap, unhealthy comfort food. Their latest gimmick is artisan sandwiches that are supposed to help them compete with Panera (sort of like a Smart Car competing with a Chevy Tahoe in the heavy hauling vehicle category). Nothing new here. In the past we’ve seen offerings with salads, all-day breakfast, fancy coffee, and wraps.
But in olden days, McDonalds owned what they were. I found a photo of an old menu. Take a look:
First of all, the pricing dates this. But notice the simplicity. And, since it’s so simple, the menu can add helpful descriptors that make me want to purchase. Yeah I know McDonalds makes money hand over fist but I wonder if they stuck to simple then maybe their operations costs would lower enough to match today’s profits. Sometimes simple is just better.
Which brings us to my lesson today. Sometimes simple plans with clear communications give us a great chance for success. Military planners, known for their complex plans that don’t translate well into an actual battle made this mistake in the ill-fated Operation Eagle Claw hostage rescue attempt back in 1980. The complexity and overplanning of this operation resulted in multiple aircraft lost and eight servicemen killed…all without ever confronting the Iranians. Simple, yet not simplistic strategies with significant training to run that simple plan might have led to success.
So what about you. What about your business? Is the presentation you’re planning to make full of jargon, complicated figures, and wordiness that’s sure to put an audience to sleep? Is your customer acquisition strategies so complex that it requires the lining up of the planets to make it work?
It may seem counterintuitive, but I’m convinced making your plans, presentations, strategies, and initiatives simple and uncomplicated eliminates confusion and results in a better chance for long term success. Maybe McDonalds should ditch trying to be cool and trendy and on a par with Panera and Chipotle and go back to what they really are. Cheap, unhealthy comfort food. I might even become a raving fan then.
What do you think?