In the race for business goals it is indeed one of the best form of booster to start taking those “strategic pauses”. These are best time to reflect back on the steps already taken and reassessing the next steps of action.

“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do”

Michael Porter

For a student of Management in Strategy and Leadership specialization, Michael Porter comes across as the first guru whose “theory of five forces” takes him or her through the maze of strategic thinking and provides the necessary foundation of a strategy function oriented career.

Whereas I learnt a lot from the Porter’s theory but I realized that humans have a natural tendency to a strategic thought process mainly driven by the choice of opting “what not to do” or take a pause.

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Thinking beings have the predisposed urge of doing things – out of curiosity and the never-quenched thirst of knowing more – like rolling logs led to discovery of wheels, which led to translation of motion from movement of population to parts of machine and subsequently our civilization. The desire to go ahead and seek the next level is all gifted to us.

But the story on other side of “not doing” probably would have begun rather on a cautious note – could be when the rolling log trampled over one of the friends of thinking being or the whole piece of log fell off the plains to river and floated away. Hence came the notion of loss or risks which seemed to be balancing out the reward or growth.

Someone entrusted with strategy responsibility at any level it becomes an important outcome of career maturity cycle of knowing and predicting how and what ‘not to do’ in the face of all the goodness. It becomes a guidance to most of things to be done, to be predicted and to be analysed.

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We generally tend to bucket the choices in “risk averse” and “risk taking” attitudes but what essentially we are doing is “risk averse” and “1 – risk averse” measurement.

Whether the discussions are around cost vs revenue or investment vs growth or compete vs cooperate, the intellectual guidance are more around judging the impact, backing up assumptions and executing with a detailed plan.

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