Which changes are you betting big on?

Making a strategic breakthrough will require you to pick selected changes to bet on, then ride them for all they are worth. The winners in poker are the ones who go all out to win the big pots, not those who pursue every hand or wait for the perfect odds.

Market shares tend to be stable when the business environment changes slowly. Strategic breakthroughs usually come when a company exploits a major change in their environment – whether technology, customer tastes or regulations. They act while these changes are still uncertain, since they lose their head-start if they wait for the trend to be obvious to everyone.

So it comes down to the question – which changes do you want to bet on? The winning strategy for these bets is closer to poker than roulette:

  • Use all available information to calculate the odds, but once you have done this, bet on instinct.
  • Bet where you can be stronger than any competitor, so that you can defend your first mover advantage.
  • Bet big when you have good odds to win a large pot.
  • There is always another hand – if you don’t like the odds, or a competitor is ahead, don’t chase them.

Out-thinking the competition, by anticipating changes and then acting on them is one of the key responsibilities of top management. You won’t win every hand, but you will build the highest stack of chips at the table.

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