Who remembers playing Buckaroo? Along with Operation – that other game of precarious balance and skill – Buckaroo was popular with families as soon as it hit the shop shelves back in the 1970s. Involving a plastic mule, adorned only with a blanket, players had to place various objects on its back, hoping not to set off its spring mechanism to jettison its load.
A steady hand and a certain amount of nerve was involved as you delicately placed a lasso here or a bucket there, but there was no doubt, too, that there was a certain thrill in sending all the objects flying across the dining table. It was liberating and involved levels of skill and strategy that were not immediately obvious; and in the true spirit of gamesmanship, winning often depended not on what you did, but on what you didn’t do.
This is a theory that was well understood by Apple co-founder, the legendary Steve Jobs, who once famously said that in business ‘the greatest strategy is deciding what not to do’. And as we bed in to 2022 and reappraise whether we’re sticking to our New Year’s resolutions, it’s a good time to think about how we are going to move forward through the rest of the year, building resilience and re enforcing alignment.
How do we do this? Well, it’s a bit like Buckaroo – we need to focus not necessarily on what we should do, but on what not to do and what is no longer useful. As Jobs also said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.” In other words, less is more and adding more actions and more strategies, one on top of the other, in a teetering, unstable pile will end up with the horse – the customer – bucking you off. How can you expect them to understand what you’re about if they only see a jumbled heap?
So, how do we channel our inner Steve Jobs and decide, with laser-like precision, what no longer serves our purpose? It’s time to think like Buckaroo’s invisible cowboy; say so long to unnecessary add-ons (that pesky guitar was never easy to hang on) and howdy, partner to a new simplified road map, with X very clearly marking the spot.
Look back at the journey you’ve taken so far; which roads were smooth and which were full of potholes and dead-ends? What is it that truly creates value and delivers purpose? Of all the things hanging on your business saddle, what can you jettison to reset? How can you unburden your business to uncover its true value? What is stopping you telling your unique story around the campfire?
After all, as that most famous of cowboys John Wayne said, ‘Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.’
Not sure where to start or perhaps there are too many ideas and not enough clarity? I’d love to have a quick chat to talk things through and work out together what could be the right next step for you and your company. Book a virtual coffee >