Stopping to Think at Buckaroo Bill’s

June 23rd, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

We’ve wound our way up to West Yellowstone to the most delightful restaurant called Buckaroo Bill’s. I’m enjoying time with family (although a few of them are carsick from the twisty roads, which of course got me thinking again about The Zig Zag Principle.) Zigging and zagging is such a powerful concept in nature. It is how we live our lives. It’s how we travel and move, it’s how streams wind their way to large rivers. Zig zagging is how we find success in our lives. Yet in business we frequently race quickly towards a goal, only to find failure. Is it any wonder why nine out of ten small businesses fail? 

Since I’m here in this gorgeous setting, surrounded by nature, let me briefly share The Zig Zag Principle, the most powerful concept that I have come up with in business so far.  Zig zagging sounds undisciplined, but indeed it is a very disciplined pragmatic approach—like a big river zigging and zagging it’s way to the ocean.

The first thing that you do is…set a crazy, big-hairy goal out there. (I am very goal oriented and I encourage everyone to be so too.) So you set this large goal out there. Then you assess your resources. Next you create a catalyzing statement or the emotional fuel to get your team to join you. Once your goal and your values are in place, the first thing you do is, you divert!

You drive to profitability. 

Zig #1 is always drive to profitability.  Getting to profitability and operating in the black is much more powerful than operating in the red. It’s comfortable, it’s logical. And it also allows you durability. It’s just that profitability might not always be in a straight line with your main goal.

Zag #2 is always to add processes and resources

Zag #3 is to add scale

The other key component in zig zagging is what I call the guardrails.  These are the components that keep us from getting lost and going into the weeds. Guardrails are the things that keep you focused on your big long term objective.

The road to success is never a straight line. Instead, zig and zag with confidence and you’ll get there.

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