Thursday, April 22, 2010

A bird in the hand

Sam Silverstein’s book No More Excuses: The Five Accountabilities for Personal and Organizational Growth (Wiley, 2010) covers a lot of familiar territory. Today I’ll confine my post to a single suggestion—that sometimes it makes good sense to get rid of a profitable product or service (or strategy) and replace it with something more in line with current goals. Silverstein writes, “We are told as we are brought up, ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ I never hear anyone ask, ‘What if there are three birds in the bush? Or five? Or ten? How old is the bird in your hand, anyway? What if the bird that’s in your hand is losing weight and isn’t looking as chipper as it once did?’” (p. 74)

We have to get rid of some old, familiar stuff, the author argues, to make room for new things, to continue to innovate. We have to allocate our resources strategically to stay ahead of the pack. I know, yada yada yada. But true nonetheless. If we stick exclusively with the familiar we are unlikely to have any experience with the optimum.

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