“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
- Michael Porter (b. 1947), Harvard Business School professor, author and leadership / management guru
That thing we’re trying not to do, but doing, can trip us up when we’re plotting strategy – especially if we’re single-threading that strategy.
As we started to consider yesterday being able to pivot when things are getting wobbly is important — even at the same time as being committed to a direction until new information presents itself.
The common denominator is knowing what not to do.
“We need to improve the bottom line!” There are at least a few ways to impact that metric in almost any company — and deciding which ones won’t get considered is the best first step.
“We need to increase revenue but lower our cost of sales!” Do we go wider in our current Client base (less costly) and price accordingly to existing streams (more efficient), or do we hedge by going after key market-share plays to increase positive market talk and creating demand? Or, do we blend those strategies?
Blended strategies are more flexible, and make it easier to adjust to market shifts. A key is to not let the blend become distracting and divert us into doing that thing or those things we set out not to do.
It’s 56% art and 44% science. (As Larry The Cable Guy told us, by the way, 42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Those two statistics, were, in fact, completely made up on the spot. But, you get my point…)
The blending matters. Art, science, growth, profit, staffing, Client-care — all ingredients worth considering, and in each case, from the perspective of what we decide not to do.