Jobs said in an interview with Betsy Morris in 2008, "People think focus means saying 'yes' to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying 'no' to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things we have done."
Since my initial conversation at Apple, I have made a point of asking leaders to define strategy. I've polled more than 200 leaders since and they have universally defined strategy as: "Saying what you want to do and how to do it." Not one person has opted for Jobs' definition.
Curiously, the very essence of strategy, which is embedded in classic research such as Michael Porter's What is Strategy? doesn't make it into these leaders' practical definitions. The key to Porter's logic is that business reality necessitates trade-offs.
So next time you're leading an off-site strategy session, don't be satisfied with a list of priorities that you're going to say "yes" to. Go through the process of answering the essential strategy question: "What will we say no to?" It is that question that will reveal the real tensions in your team. It is that question that will uncover the core trade-offs in your organization. It is that question that can deliver the rare and precious clarity necessary to achieve game-changing breakthroughs in your business.
- System failure to blame for delayed Saturday...
- 5 trends beneath the surface of Nov. jobs report
- 3,000 Workforce Services clients may be...
- Weber State center helping to improve auto...
- Sugar House streetcar prepares for public launch
- Cedar Hills to require business licenses for...
- Walmart's 20 best-selling Black Friday items
- Jobless claims drop to near 6-year low
- Fast-food strikes return amid push for... 31
- Obama declares health care law is... 21
- Intermountain Healthcare offering... 15
- Jobless claims drop to near 6-year low 10
- Obama to feds: Boost renewable power 20... 6
- Walmart's 20 best-selling Black Friday... 5
- DeseretNews.com reaches page view... 4
- Cedar Hills to require business... 4