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At the heart of Bristlecone’s essentialism is the belief that every enterprise has a set of attributes that are core to its identity and function, but are often lost in a needlessly broad set of initiatives.  


  • When essentialism is practiced, businesses thrive. Without essentialism, business leaders pursue an unnecessarily broad agenda, supported by strained resources, that is missing a galvanizing message or a shared sense of priority.
  • As the scope of initiatives expands, execution risk expands as well; there is a direct correlation. This scope creep dooms many companies as the pace, substance, and sustainability of initiatives falls far short of what is required to drive targeted employee and client engagement. Too many messages and unclear messaging challenge employee engagement. You will accomplish nothing without high levels of employee engagement.


Operational Themes

  • Find the smallest unit of value to drive your one priority. Make fast-paced, confident movements in 90 cycles. On a journey from point A to point C, it’s best to get to point B before plotting the path to point C. Critical insights will be gained in the movement from A to B that will inform the journey from B to C. Devoting resources to painstakingly plotting a two-year journey is a naïve approach.
  • Design and target your projects for the large part of the curve—resist the tail. Yes, there are exceptions, but designing projects to account for those exceptions will doom the project. Calculate the value to focus on the large part of the curve and design the project to attack it. Exceptions are just that; deal with them on a case-by-case basis.

Hallmarks of Essentialism

PRIORITY: Sort through the myriad of legacy priorities and discover the one priority of the business.

SIMPLICITY: Communicate and clarify the one goal for employees with impactful and concise language.

CONSISTENCY: The leadership team must be consistent in engaging the priority and sustaining the priority.

ENGAGEMENT: All of this will create a sense of empowerment for your employees and deliver critically high levels of employee engagement.