Why New Strategies Come Up Short

Someone had the idea to install a high-end Dyson hand drier in this bathroom. It’s more efficient, cleaner, and will decrease paper waste. It is, quite simply, a better mousetrap.


Except that the paper towels dispenser wasn’t removed. Maybe there was a good reason to do this, and maybe there wasn’t, but either way, it’s before noon and the  paper towel waste bin is overflowing. The new device, the new approach, is being undermined because no one had the guts to say “and we’re going to stop doing the old thing too.”

Strategy is about making choices.

Most of the time, our new strategies come up short not because we don’t have enough good new ideas, but because we’re scared to let go of the old ones. We are unwilling to stop doing the things that are comfortable that got us here–they feel like they form our identity, there are people who are accustomed to doing those old jobs, so let’s have our strategy be “in addition to” everything else rather than “instead of.”

That all sounds plausible enough, but the truth is we’ll never get to the other side of the pool if we keep clinging to the edge over here.

4 thoughts on “Why New Strategies Come Up Short

  1. While I agree with your overall point. You’re example above is poor. People hate the dyson hand dryers because they do a poor job of actually drying your hands. If the invention was a better one then using paper towels, I’m sure people would have no problem using the new invention.

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