Step one: play good defense. Step two: don’t turn the ball over. Step three: run the ball effectively. Step four: dictate the tempo on special teams. Rinse, lather, repeat. It’s a simple formula — the Shredded Wheat of football philosophy — yet Virginia Tech is one of only a handful of programs that actually dedicates itself to the simple things, because it’s the simple things that win football games. And win, and win and win, to the tune of seven straight double-digit win seasons, three B.C.S. bowls since 2007 and annual national title contention. If it’s so simple, why can’t others do the same? There’s your big question, and I don’t have an answer. But coaches across the land, at all levels, would be wise to pop in a tape of Virginia Tech at work to see how it’s done. Few, if any, do the little things better.
I think the parallels to Apple here are apparent. Apple, just like Virgina Tech, does something so basic, so fundamental, that it’s a wonder why more companies simply don’t copy it. But therein lies the rub: never confuse simple with easy. Doing the things Apple does isn’t easy. Just like Va Tech’s persona, it requires motivation, dedication and the patience to see things through, despite naysayers. Not things are abundant in today’s society.
Most successful people, companies and teams understand this. That’s why simple, effective strategies are looked upon with some awe & mystery. They’re dismissed with a hand wave and blamed on something else ( luck, a certain person, whatever ) that other people don’t have. A nice excuse for why some people shine and over achieve and others falter.
It’s why the old dismissive of “If it’s so obvious, why doesn’t everyone else do it?” can be answered with “Because it’s hard.” People think radical, successful ideas need to be complex if they don’t understand them or can’t reproduce them. That’s because it’s a nice place to lay the blame on when things do work out.
As we’ve seen time and time again with companies, personal finance and, yes, even sports, dedication to a simple idea can reap incredibly huge rewards. After all, “The harder I work, the luckier I get” has never been more true.