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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Measure: Post #4--Plans

Plans and Emergence. Throughout the book, Christensen provides a kind of mini-case study of how a particular theory works and then encourages the individual reader to apply to his/her life. One example was how Honda broke into the US market in the 1960s. Their early strategy focused on competing with Harley-Davidson in the area of road bikes. That strategy failed. However, Honda also shipped a few small bikes (Super Cubs), and one Honda employee took out a Cub to hit the dirt trails and blow off steam. Thus, the ”dirt bike” was invented, and the market grew and grew—an example of an emergent strategy. As the old saying goes, life happens when you’re planning something else! Christensen warns that such emergent, unanticipated opportunities crop up and compete with the more “deliberate strategy” for resources. Strategy is dynamic and messy at times. You have to be ready to experiment, evaluate, and change when necessary. Learn fast, reiterate, and adapt. Applied to the individual, the author suggests we try new things that “motivate” us (based on our interests and talents), stay open to unanticipated opportunities, and decide when the deliberate strategy needs modification. Assumptions need to get evaluated when considering alternate, emerging strategies. There’s a fascinating story about how Disney’s assumptions about a theme park they built in Paris were flawed and cost them a lot of money. Christensen’s advice about career development is to stay open, be willing to experiment, pivot toward change and adjust, but test assumptions as you make choices in your life.

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