Pragmatism Always Wins

3 October 2008

Pick your niche and stick to it.  Focus focus focus.  Stand for something. Don’t waiver. Stay on message.  Stay on target.  Damn the torpedoes.  And while you’re at it, go down with the ship.

Following the tech crash in 2001, Sun Microsystems did not change its strategy.  It continued to invest heavily in R&D at a rate nearly twice as large as its competitors.  It did not adapt its product lines to meet the customer demands for cheap off-the shelf products.  They stuck to their strategy but they lost their competitive advantage.

Now consider the Republican move to shore up the financial system. (Shore-up is a much better description than bailout, don’t you think?)  This is a clear departure from their message.  It is a socialist move that is not consistent with Republican values.  Does that make it wrong or is it more likely that these extraordinary times do not fit nicely with the policies of any political party.  New thinking is required because sticking to the message in times like these does not make sense.

Being dogmatic about your strategy in the face of external changes that affect your business is wrong.  Predict, plan, adapt is better advice. There are things that happen to businesses that require you to change.  Being stuborn and dogmatic about it won’t help you.  In these cases, pragmatism always wins.

Thanks to Seth Godin for getting me on the soap box.

MJM Consulting – Helping companies grow.