The Arnold Principle and Bodacious Leadership

From the book: “Be Bodacious: Put Life in Your Leadership” Author Steven D Wood

Bodacious leaders are like Arnold the ranch owner who I worked for as a cowboy and told us, “…You may think I am in the cattle business; well I ain’t, I am in the steak business. My business is to provide my customers with the best tasting and most tender steaks possible…. To get tender steaks we must move the herd persistently and gently.”The Arnold Principle simply stated is, “Know what your destination is and clearly communicate how you are going to get there.” Arnold understood the customer did not buy the whole cow; they bought tender steaks. Arnold had a long-term customer focused point of view that defined the way we did things on the ranch. Bodacious leaders embrace “The Arnold Principle” by defining the way things are done in the organization to deliver a quality product to the customer. Bodacious leaders do not focus on the cow; they focus on delivering the best steaks to the customer. Bodacious leaders encourage innovation though persistence and by gently moving their teams toward the horizon.

Arnold did not have a pedigree or an impressive resume listing the universities he had attended, degrees obtained, or prior positions held. He did have a clear vision and understood his mission, which he effectively communicated to the team. While his vision and mission statements were not printed and distributed to all the cowboys, we understood the mission and understood we were in the steak business.

Embrace “The Arnold Principle” by clearly communicating your, destination and mission. Avoid being tangled up with carefully crafted, corporate sounding vision statements that few people remember or understand. Keep it short and simple and communicate it regularly in plain understandable language.