This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Strategy Traps from BCG Perspectives

BCG Perspectives have an interesting approach to publishing thought-pieces. The one I stumbled on is their discussion of Strategy Traps, where they pair up a number of "traps" that trap organizations - and use a historical figure to highlight the idea, followed by a classic case example of a business that got stuck in the trap in question, plus some warning signs and paths to avoid getting stuck.

I enjoyed browsing through the descriptions, and scratched my head at a few of the quotes. But it is a nice way to start thinking about these topics.  One could imagine different traps, or different combinations of these traps, depending on your frame of reference.

Explore the whole site yourself, but here are the traps pairings:

Defining the option space. Organizations need to look for options, based on the environment that they find themselves in. But it is easy to get stuck either in Backyard exploration (sticking to the options you already know - not looking beyond the familiar) or Combing the ocean (defining the option space too broadly, and getting stuck with choice overload). 

Calibration of exploration. Where do these options come from? Do you keep tapping the same well over and over, only to get Trapped in the past (exploiting the same option over and over again) when the world has changed? Or do you get stuck in a Perpetual search (looking for new options without ever adequately exploiting them) without ever deciding to do something and take advantage of it.

Consideration of available resources. How well do you use what you have? Are you prepared for what it takes to survive the business journey or the exploration of new ideas? Will you get stuck because you have Misjudged harshness (not considering the cost of exploration)? Or might you get stuck with Unleveraged resources (missing opportunities unnecessarily)?

Investment in new options. How much do you spend exploring the option that you select? There may be a wide band of "just right", but if you devote too little resource (time, money, enery), it is like a mere Drop in the ocean (big goals and small incremental investments) to making the option work. On the other hand, you could Risk the ship (always going for the big push) on one option instead of pursuing several, under the assumption that you will learn as you go.

Learning from the environment. Speaking of learning as you go, this is a must as organizations build and grow and change. Beware the trap of doing what you've always done - the Fixed itinerary (never adapting your methods). Similarly, there is the trap doing what everyone else is doing, even if it doesn't make sense for your organization. The Forgetful wanderer (always following the latest lead) doesn't remember where he's been, and barely knows where he's going.

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