There are plenty of generic strategic choices to drive a business forward. Risk-averse CEOs find comfort in the ‘doing more of the same’ strategic mode. Yet, when things get tough, they quickly knee-jerk into ‘doing more of the same, with less.’ Some leaders strive for scale by ‘doing more with less,’ usually meaning fewer employees. Optimists favor ‘doing more with more,’ placing bets that higher sales and profits will pay for the added investments in headcount or technologies; we’ve all been there at one time or another.
The strategy I’ve grown to love and count on over a 45-year career is do less, better. A long time ago, this ethic saved a near-bankrupt company that I had a part in restructuring. To rise from the ashes, our young management team made several tough sacrifices to transform a multi-product, multi-brand operation from generalist to specialist. Specialists beat generalists – always have, always will.