from the meadow to the rodeo

From the meadow to the Rodeo

I’m currently stateside developing relationships with clients, trainers and honing my own leadership skills further. In week one I found myself attending a Rodeo.

Having never been to a Rodeo before, I felt hesitant, however, I do not want to use this blog post to get into an ethics debate around the topic. Whatever one’s views are on this matter, there are powerful business analogies to be drawn from this experience. 

My friend and I witnessed and recognised first and foremost the tremendous courage shown by all the participants in this highly tense, energised and dangerous arena of conflicting energies. In business we need courage in order to create, to create something new and to succeed. It is never too early to hone and master this courage. 

Not only did we see volumes of courage being spun around this dusty arena, but also extraordinary levels of skill, particularly by the Rodeo ‘Clowns’ (Rodeo clown generally refers to a rodeo performer who protects competitors in bull riding from being injured by the bulls), as well as the pick-up riders who operate to distract the bulls or rodeo horses and thereby save the riders from potential severe injury. This was a vivid visual and kinetic metaphor for how in business it is often those working behind the scenes that have a defining impact on outputs and results, and how they can often be overlooked and not receive any credit or recognition. The Rodeo riders seem to depict the all-glorified CEO’s within business.  

As we continued to watch the bucking, the near-misses and the manic rearing, I then thought more on team work and how the whole rodeo machine depends upon the animals, the stewards, the cowboys, the cowgirls, the commentators a myriad of different roles that keep the show on the road, individual cogs in a machine, but all with a shared passion for horses and a way of life that supports the rural community. In business a shared goal, vision or mission brings discretionary effort, the ability to go beyond what is expected at work.

Not only is leadership and teamwork integral to success in work, but equally there is the value of trust; having someone’s back. At the rodeo this was evident from the first bull out of the gate, the pick-up riders would lift a rider off a bucking bull or horse, if they were in difficulty. That partnership was so powerful to watch.

In business, difficulties arise all the time you need your senior team to have your back, trust is arguably the most important thing in business.

So we’re just out here going from the meadow, to the rodeo, back to business pro.

More soon!