Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cat Takes All

It’s a simple challenge.

“The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” Which is the most effective strategy for your team to use?

It’s a challenge I sometimes use in my leadership training sessions when groups start examining their team’s approach to strategy. It essentially asks about their strategic perspective. Do they want to be the first in their field to try something, to look for the newest technology or practice to achieve their goals (the early bird)? Or, do they want to let others take the risks first to find out if something works and then adopt the new approach after someone else has tested it.

One group I just did this with, chose a different approach, “Cat takes all!”
As they said, it is thinking outside the circle. It is a balanced but challenging approach. The group hoped to find those points where they can adopt a new technology or approach when the risk is not that great and wait at other points to let others try the new technology or approach. The true challenge is figuring out which is which.

It is an attractive approach, trying to take the best of both approaches. Being the cat is a good option because the cat can eat both the bird and the mouse. However, it is the truly nimble and cunning cat that will catch both the bird and the mouse at the same time.

Not that it is impossible, but it must be truly nimble.

So, how nimble is your organization? Is it the early bird, the second mouse or the cat that watches carefully and jumps on both?