In my professional life I have often read and spoken about an article called “What is Strategy?” by Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School. The gist: in business, one should compete to be unique and not compete to be the best. One should offer something unique and valuable to a defined set of customers and then align business activities – production, sales, administration – to deliver that offering efficiently. It’s not an easy task, especially as businesses grow and as different opportunities come and go. Commitment to a strategy requires leaders to continuously remind themselves and their staffs: who are we trying to be in the market and have we assembled the correct activities to achieve that vision? Are we trying to be too many things to too many customers? What should we decline to do or stop doing?
As many times as I’ve cited that paper and used it as the framework for a customer conversation, I’ve only recently thought about it on a personal level: how do I want to contribute to the world and am I applying my interests and efforts in the correct way to have that effect? Are my interests and efforts too varied and too broad?
Or worse — am I all interest and no effort? Have I spread myself across so many topics that I’ve become an observer of the issues I care about, purely a consumer of media, rather than a participant or leader in driving change? Have I become content to let others discuss and lead while I merely watch without taking a stand or jumping into the fray?
I don’t sing, act, or play an instrument, but I’d like to do a better job of something one hears about in the performing arts: “occupying my space”. I have a voice, opinions, a few talents, and relationships with others who have the same. It’s time to stand tall, throw shoulders back, take stands for what I believe in, and try to get something done.
I created this blog to prioritize and refine my ideas and to force myself to take a position on topics where I might previously have been on the sidelines. Maybe after some transparency and some discussion and some polish, ideas will lead to action and action will lead to change. Let’s see where this thing goes.