Thursday, November 10, 2005

Part Two Introduction: Choose a 2,000 Percent Opportunity

Part Two

Choose a 2,000 Percent Opportunity

In Part One of the workbook, you looked for high payoff areas and activities to create 2,000 percent solutions and the stalls you would have to overcome in the process of making improvements. Those perspectives will have narrowed down your thinking quite a lot. In Part Two, you will find opportunities that will increase performance in a large number of areas and think about how long it will take to make the improvements required for one 2,000 percent solution versus the time needed for another one. At the end of Part Two, you will be ready to begin crafting a 2,000 percent solution.

Let’s consider an example of how the choice of creating a 2,000 percent solution can make a large positive or negative difference for an organization. In earlier days at Apple Computer, the organization set its focus on having a superior operating system and user features that would make it very appealing to do advanced computing on an Apple Macintosh. For many years after the IBM PC standard was set, users consistently reported preferences for Apple’s offerings. The only aspect where the PC standard did well compared to Apple was in having more application software available for PCs. Microsoft was a much smaller company at the same time, and also had an objective of providing a superior operating system for personal computers. Microsoft focused its attention solely on improving its software and the frequency of upgrades in creating its 2,000 percent solutions for its computer users. Apple continued to work across the board on all aspects of computing that affected its hardware or software. If Apple instead had selected the Microsoft focus, Apple could have chosen to make its proprietary operating system work on the PC standard as well. Microsoft would have continued to do well on IBM-built personal computers, but Apple could have gained leadership with most of the clone PC makers who soon dominated the market. If successful in that focus, Apple would now be the world’s most valuable company and would probably have stopped providing its own computing hardware at some point along the way.

As you can see from this example, it’s important to think about the benefits that current customers and stakeholders receive. But it’s even more important to think about the benefits that potential stakeholders will obtain as well. In addition, how will your change affect the competitive balance in the market place? Can you, like Apple might have, cut off a powerful future competitor by concentrating your focus where it will do you the most good?

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell