Choosing Vs. Creating: Two Ingredients For Success
“There are two ingredients for success, and it’s good to be sure that you are using them in the right proportions.
To illustrate, suppose that you want to invest some money in a business.
One option would be to buy stock in some listed companies. Here it all depends on choosing the right companies. Once you have bought the stock, there is nothing you can do to influence its performance. You just have the choice of buy, sell or hold.
A second option would be to buy a substantial minority stake, say 20%, in a smaller business. For this you could get a seat on the board, and some influence over the performance of your investment. That influence is fairly limited, though, and in a case like this most of your success will come from choosing the right business with the right management team.
A third option would be to start your own business, with yourself as CEO. You would still need to choose a suitable product offering and market sector, but much more of your success will come from what you do.
So do you choose high performers, or do you create high performance? In most cases you do both, but it’s easy to get the balance wrong. Consider these examples;
Choice of market: you segment the market, but then what do you do? Do you select the ‘best’ segment and offer it an average product or service ? That’s choosing. Or do you come up with a breakthrough offering and then put it into the most suitable market segment, even if that isn’t the ‘best’ (defined by growth rate, margins or strength of competition)? That’s creating, with some choosing. Or do you spot the market segment that doesn’t exist, the empty space of customers who don’t currently buy or are poorly served by all the existing offerings, and make something for them? That’s creating.
Career choice: do you choose the path (big law firm, investment bank or consultancy) and then do exactly what those employers expect of you? That’s choosing. Or do you do your unique thing and create a market for it? That’s creating.”