Your focus, willpower, and gameplay are the only things standing between you and your most ambitious goals. So, what can you do to set yourself up for success?
The big game mentality theory by Dr. Sandeep Goyal depicts the difference between the winners and the runner-ups. It is a simple yet strategic mental model to separate big business tycoons from seasonal businessmen.
Mr. Goyal described this mental model with a very simple analogy based on cricket. He said: “It’s like when a batsman goes up to the pitch and is surrounded by thousands of fans but is still able to focus on the ball and hit a sixer.” Cue Yuvraj Singh and the time he hit six sixes in a single game.
For most of us on the sidelines, we focus on the micro: the glam, the revenue, the share price and the profit of big businesses but often fail to see the struggles, the hurdles, the hard work, and the resilience in the macro.
Similarly, starting on their journey, entrepreneurs dream big but often overlook small or basic factors that can break or make their business. They shouldn’t forget punctuality, being transparent and honest, having a clear strategy, building the right culture, having shared values and focusing on helping customers.
In a nutshell, the Big Game Mentality is all about focusing on your vision and not ignoring the small stuff (macro, meet micro). Little things matter, and they go a long way in cementing how people perceive your business.
Takeaways from Steve Jobs’ Keynote
This conversation with Dr. Goyal reminded me of Steve Jobs’s keynote when he returned to Apple, discussing vision and focus. This keynote is an amazing masterclass. I have to say; I am biased because I’m quite the Apple fanboy, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that there’s a lot of useful information there, so I want to provide a few takeaways from that keynote.
Even though this talk is over two decades old, it boils down strategy to its most essential parts; the who, why, and what. At one point in the keynote, Jobs addresses the fact that Appel suffered from lousy engineering management.
Steve Jobs is saying here that, as a company, you must focus on the things that work and add value by identifying the fundamental direction you should go in. A company without focus is doomed. Focusing is not about saying yes; it’s about saying no to things you want to do but don’t make sense within your vision or strategy.
Steve Jobs also pointed out the importance of being different while remaining relevant to your audience. To drive this point across, he said: “I think it’s important that Apple is perceived as much better. If being different is essential to doing that, then we have to do that. But if we could be much better without being different, that’d be fine with me.
Jobs also swears by the top-down approach, where the strategy is clear in terms of the vision, and then you bring in the right people and build the right culture around that. If you do that, your company will succeed because it can produce the right products. There’s a lot more we can discuss from Steve Jobs’ keynote, but for now, I want you to think about the following important points:
1. Focus and have a sharp vision
You might have interesting ideas boiling to skyrocket your business’s sales, but with an ambiguous vision, you are headed nowhere. An important focus aspect is discarding ideas that don’t align with your business strategy. Businesses with a sharp vision are not apologetic about being different than others. Instead, they complete the market gap and attract audiences by pulling on their emotional strings — logical and illogical.
2. Be different but relevant
A business with a truly unique vision has to be relevant if it wants to be competitive. You can’t develop an application without analyzing and understanding the market needs.
That’s why it’s important to think of the following questions when developing a unique application:
- Does my audience need the product, service or application I am developing?
- Will it fill the market gap?
- Are there similar solutions in the market?
Steve Jobs says, ‘We are focusing our energy on the right products, the right marketing strategy, the right communication strategy, and the right distribution strategy.’ That’s a good example to follow!
Pro tip: Think like the CEO of the company.
If you want to go from order taker to trusted creative advisor, always think like the CEO of the company that you’re working with. They are thinking about everything and not just visual design. Here are a few to start:
- The product
- The customer
- The market
- The stakeholders
- The media
- The competition
- The company value
- The company business model (how they make money)
- Perception and innovation
- Operations and logistics
Thinking like the CEO of the client you’re working with will give you a completely different perspective and approach to delivering value. You also want to be genuinely interested and curious, and ask the right questions to learn about the business and industry. That is the secret to becoming a trusted advisor.
A customer-centred approach will also allow you to have cognitive empathy. In fact, emotional intelligence can help you develop a higher-resolution understanding leading to uncovering and solving the right challenge/problem.
3. Handle criticism with wisdom
Steve Jobs once said, ‘I don’t feel my job is to win a popularity contest right now’ when he was asked about handling criticism during an interview. Handling critical feedback with wisdom takes you one step closer to running a successful company.
4. Attract the right audience
Focusing on what your company has to offer means you need to focus on attracting the right audience. How you represent your business in the market should reflect the audience that will buy your products and services.
For instance, Steve Jobs once said, “Apple is still the dominant leader in education.” By saying that, he clearly stated that his company focuses on educators, creative thinkers, students, and the future generation. He knew exactly who he was catering his products to, and so should you!
5. Find meaningful partnerships
Developing meaningful partnerships with dominant leaders in the industry will only open your business to more growth opportunities. Not every business in the industry is a competition, so you need to be smart about the stakeholders you choose to collaborate with inside the market.
As you can see, the big game mentality is all about the gameplay you put forward to grow your business. Entrepreneurs are often tempted to act against their business strategy. However, only those who stay laser-focused on their goals win the game.
Instead of creating a complex plan, stick to the simple strategy of ‘why,’ ‘who,’ what,’ ‘when,’ and ‘where.’ That way, you’ll keep things simple and will find the success you’re looking for faster.