“The art of the wise is knowing what to overlook . . .”

—William Blake

I know you recognize the following story. The names and situation may be different, but the story is the same, for it plays out all the time inside of companies around the globe:

Scene: A conference room inside a company's office with managers sitting around an oval conference table.
Issue: Deciding on a future strategic direction and customer base.
Manager 1: We have a great offering that would fit perfectly with segment X, where market growth rates are off the charts.
Manager 2: No, we need to go after market Y; the margins with this group are incredible.
Manager 3: You're both wrong! We can't alienate our core. The largest market by far is Z, so our focus should be here.
Manager 4: Our budget allocation for next year is constrained; how are we even going to fund this expansion? Perhaps we need to think about reorganizing.

We've all lived these conversations. Who usually wins? The person who wins is typically the one with the highest position on the org chart, the one who controls the budget, or who talks the loudest. But who should win? The one who's right.

Today more than ever, companies need to make choices about allocating scarce resources. Not only must they decide in what part of the market they should compete, but they must also adopt the right tactics for the part of the market in which they are competing. Moreover, just as important is the need to determine ...

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