Here’s a rule of thumb: During good times people think it is their strategy that’s good, and in bad times, people think it’s the market.
During a downturn, many executives are much more likely to think a redirect is necessary. In a similar fashion, during times of great growth, we assume that what we’re doing is causing the desired results so staying the course makes sense. Neither point of view is really true. They reflect our perception of what we believe to be true.
There’s a process we use at Rubicon that sounds kind of mean. Us, mean, you ask? Never! But the name of our process certainly sounds tough; it’s the Murder Board process. It’s where the collective brains of the organization get together to discuss options and alternatives for client solutions. And you know what we do? We kill loads of good ideas to get to the best idea. It requires discernment, and an idea of what is really needed. Rather than ever present what I dub “the 99 idea slide,” we aim for the best idea that will cause success.
From time to time in business, an idea emerges that sounds obviously good — so good, in fact, that it becomes accepted wisdom almost immediately. Product managers quickly incorporate it into their assumptions, marketeers let it shape the way they approach the project, and executives quickly incorporate it into their presentation slides so that it ceases to be mere idea and becomes… (drum roll) fact.
The idea makes the leap from theory to principle without ever being subjected to rigorous testing. Often, the idea eventually gets proven out. But what if the so-called fact turns out to be false? Or what if an idea that once was true becomes false? What happens then? Has it happened to you?
Before a company can be ready for growth, it must take stock of the current business situation–and make those decisions that will prompt sales expansion in the future. Making the decisions for what to cut, what to keep and what needs further investment is a key part of strategy development. This approach can be applied to your product lines, market segments, and resource allocation.