Are You Failing to Act, or Acting to Fail?

Strategy is not necessarily about deciding to do something. Sometimes it is about deciding not to do anything. Strategy is not about actions, it is about making decisions (and deliberate choices) based on where you want to go and reflected through realities around you.

Action is easy. Making a deliberate decision for inaction is harder.

schmeichel

Good example of this are penalty kicks in football (or soccer in US). Goalie is in definite disadvantage to catch the ball because 80% of all penalty kicks will score. For goalie, there are three options: go left, right or stay put. According to the study, 49% of times they turn to right, 45% to left and only 6% time they stay where they are. However, they should stay they where they are, because then they would have 33.3% change of halting the penalty kick instead of 14.2% on the left and 12.6 percent on the right.

Why they still jump although it is inferior strategy?

Mainly because they feel better when they do that. At least they tried. If you fail when you have done something it does not feel not as bad as failure due to inaction. The reality of probabilities does not change your feelings. People do not generally understand probabilities. Although you increase your choices on catching the ball, the majority of penalty kicks will still be goals. Doing the wrong thing is justified, because “at least you did something”:

“If things turn bad, at least they (goalies) will be able to say that they tried to do something, whereas if they choose not to change anything and the situation continues to be poor (or becomes worse), it may be hard to avoid the criticism that despite the warning signs they ‘didn’t do anything’”

Action Bias Among Elite Soccer Goalkeepers: The case of penalty kicks

How often brands have changed their tagline just because they got a new marketing director?  How often we flip-flop with our strategy just because “we need to do something”? How often we change teams just to “shake things up”. Being quick to act is good method to appear decisive, but it does not necessarily mean that you are truly thinking strategically.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: