Issue No. 3

June 20, 2013

What Business Are You In?

It is astonishing how often decisions are made based on assumptions and worse when the assumptions vary amongst the leaders. For example, most companies use and rely heavily upon technology. Information technology for sure, but technology of all types is used widely. Does it make you a technology company if you use certain technologies heavily? No, emphatically not. This is important because the way you see your business will influence the decisions you make about virtually everything but in particular, investments.

A CEO recently told me that his company is a technology company and I asked him why if that were true, he wasn’t making his technology available to all parts of the market. He was stunned and said “because we only focus on builders.” OK, then your technology enables you to provide a service to builders whose needs you understand very well. Great, so you can develop a range of products and services for a particular market and utilize your deep knowledge about their business. He agreed.

Assumptions are important in decision-making. The challenge is in knowing what they are. A saying goes, “we don’t know who discovered water but we are pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.” Businesses need outsiders to help them but first they need to know what the real need is. A need is not new software (an input) but is more customers doing more business with you. That is an outcome and we’re all ultimately after outcomes.

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© Constance Dierickx 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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