This May Be The Single Most Complicated Skill For Marketers (and humans)

Gordon Tredgold. No that’s not a typo. It’s a gentleman I just stumbled upon while thinking of how to craft this particular piece. Gordon Tredgold is someone I had never heard of before but I can tell you this: He and I need to meet for he is a man after my own heart.

First off, the following verbiage is on his site: “Gordon has a strong sense of humour, and believes that humour is a great stress reliever and that teams that laugh together work harder together.” As you can see, he is not from the US hence the ‘our’ spelling of the word “humor.”

I don’t care where he’s from, what I do care is he and I are absolutely kindred spirits. Not only do I firmly believe in the power of humour AND humor for that matter, he wrote a piece a few years ago for INC that is so aligned with my way of thinking, it’s frightening.

The title/sub of his piece were:

Simplicity Is the Key to Success: Here Are 26 Inspiring Quotes to Help You on That Journey
The simpler we keep things, the more successful we will be. It’s as simple as that.

The Most Complicated Skill

So what is the most complicated skill? What is the one skill so very few marketers, let alone humans in general, possess?

Think about how many times, as marketers, you sit in meeting after meeting and exchange email after email and Slack after Slack and on and on and on and… until you get to the point where you forget, literally, what it was you were trying to figure out in the first place.

I am never ceased to be amazed at the complete lack of common sense, rational thinking — real, honest-to-goodness simplistic thinking that goes on ever single day around the country and the globe.

We humans absolutely overcomplicate many things but we marketers… whoa baby. We take it to a whole new level.

“Well our research overwhelmingly shows that our customers love the color green and hate the color yellow, so we’ll stop making yellow and up our production of green.”


“Hold on there big fella, it can’t be that easy. Maybe we need to think about this a little more. Let’s have some meetings on this; let’s set up a committee and then set up some sub-committees who will report to the larger committee on a bi-weekly basis. Johnson, set this all up ASAP.” 

Look and sound familiar?

Of course it does.

Now, I fully realize that if you happen to work for someone who insists on overcomplicating everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, well… you’re kinda screwed. Sure, you can try to get them to see the light; to see the err in their ways; that yes, sometimes things are really that simple but chances are you’d be wasting your breath.

However, if you are in a position where you can enact change; where you can in fact have a direct impact on (insert name here; procedure, process, etc) then it is your responsibility to Keep It Simple, Stupid.

You didn’t really think I would not inject that classic acronym into this conversation, did you?

And in case you’re wondering if you can acquire said skill, of course you can. That’s the beauty of this particular skill. You don’t need an app to keep things simple. You just do it.

Final Thoughts

First, go and read Gordon’s full post and even save some or all of the quotes he references. Maybe even “accidentally” print out a few hundred copies of them and then “accidentally” hang them on every cubicle wall, office wall, conference room wall, bathroom wall you can find.

I want to share two quotes with you. The first is one via the INC piece and the second is from Gordon himself.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius


“People are not afraid of hard work, they are afraid of failure, and complexity just adds to that fear and erodes confidence.” – Gordon Tredgold.

2 Replies to “This May Be The Single Most Complicated Skill For Marketers (and humans)”

  1. Hi Steve, thanks for the love, it is much appreciated and yes Simplicity is something that everyone seems to talk about, that everyone wants but is in such very short supply.

    I am blessed, that for me, its a skill i have, but its also bit of a curse as I see unnecessary complexity everywhere, but am often powerless to fix it.

    Let me know where you’re based and the next time i am in that part of town i will buy you a beer


    1. Hi Gordon! I am incredibly ashamed to admit I dont check comments very often because so many are spam! I just saw yours and immediately approved it. Thank you! I am based in Philly but of course now with COVID… ugh. Would still love to set up a Zoom with you! Be well my friend!

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