• Benjamin

The strategy paradox

The strategy paradox is that a sound strategy is both necessary and can lead to success and to failure.*

One example is Kodak (founded 1888) not embracing its own digital photography invention back in 1975. (Interestingly, this year they began producing pharmaceutical ingredients.)

While looking backwards is easy, how do you live with the strategy paradox in the moment? Here are some thoughts.

1) Separation – Split resources between grasping market forces and building solutions for the market.

Value collaboration across the split. One compromise - experiment without fully committing resources to scale yet.

2) Permeability – Discuss ideas early and openly to address problems and concerns before they magnify.

3) Requisite uncertainty – Force the question, “Why would this not work?” That thought exercise encourages better ways to prevent and mitigate bad results.

4) Portfolio of options – Build a list of ideas and companies which run parallel to your strategy to consider options later (building on success or pivoting).

5) Avoid sunk cost – Recognize the cognitive bias to keep moving forward, despite the facts, due to your past efforts.

Question your strategies early to curb issues, find options, and increase your odds of success.

*This post was inspired by the appearance of Michael Raynor on The Art of Manliness podcast with Brett McKay.

The photo comes from Samantha Hurley who can be found here:

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