Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All the Wood

There's a phrase I first heard while working at a start-up company in Boston: Get all the wood behind the arrowhead.

The concept is simple; no matter how sharp the arrowhead it's useless without the mass of the shaft behind it.

You see this simple concept played out all the time.

An entire football team rallies to pave the way for a single ball carrier. No matter how fast he is, his chances of success plumet if the team is not with him.

A lead guitarist lays down a blistering solo as the bassist and drummer pump out a steady, repetitive beat. Were the other players to get showy, it would detract from the solo making the overall effect less powerful.

A CEO cancels numerous projects in order to redirect her company's resources to a single project, one that will make or break the company. She realizes that no matter how smart her people are, a small, underfunded team can't compete with other organizations that are betting the farm on a burgeoning technology.

It's a simple concept, one that has been proved over and over, one that we applaud in others, one that we avoid personally.

The problem is simple; if you put all the wood into the shaft of one arrowhead or just a few arrowheads, you're going to have fewer arrows. What happens if you miss? What happens if you pick the wrong target? What will people think of you when they've got hundreds of arrows and you have just a few? It's overwhelming.

So, we march through our days, business as usual. Not only do we keep all our arrows, we collect more. Our quivers are full, full of useless to pretty good arrows.

And we wonder why we don't see the success in our endeavors that others see in theirs.

How many arrows are you got in that quiver of yours?

Happy Wednesday,

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