Strategic Thinking Points

The conventional dialogue around success has some flaws or maybe better, some rules that are too rigid to be useful.

“Quitters never win and winners never quit.”

There is some validity to that thought but if you are too specific, it is a trap.  Winners quit lots of things, but they don’t stay quit.  The move on to something else with better prospects and some hard-won experience.  These quitters almost always win.  They know that resources consumed by substandard projects are  a waste of money, time, and energy plus they are no fun.  Quitting bad things is refreshing.  The message should be Quit Quick and move on.

“Sharing is important”

Again a worthy idea.  Biblical even.  But, again with necessary qualifiers.  Most people prefer to see their fellow earthlings be safe, fed, sheltered and with necessary medical care.  It is a form of security.  The problem arises when the good feeling of sharing is not disciplined.  Sharing requires resources.  If you wish to share your own resorces, good for you.  If you plan to share resources that others own, then not so much good for you.

The problem seems to arise from flawed ideas.

If you assume that existing resources are all there are, sharing must mean reducing the slice some get and increasing the slice others get.  That view fails for two reasons.

  1. It automatically assumes the resource is there, will always be there, and is shareable.
  2. It presupposes that when viewed by society as a whole, sharing is the highest and best use for the resource in question.

Share some now or share more later.  At an individual level that is the security/growth conflict.  If you value security then growth must diminish.  If you value growth, then immediate security is threatened.  But growth enhances security in the longer run.  So fear and impatience are the problems.  No matter how good your intent, it is impossible to do everything at once.

At the society level, the growth/security conflict remains but with envy added.

A hundred and twenty-five years ago, more than half the people lived on and worked on farms.  The desire and ability to help others was alive and well then, but the resources were much more limited than today.  Society wide growth in economic value permitted the society we see today.  Poor people are now better off than almost everyone 125 years ago.

Sharing needs to be thought through so that it does not reduce the resource available to help people in the future.  That some are better off than others now is representative of many things not the least of which is that they have earned money and kept a lot of it.  Why should they necessarily be used as a piggy bank.

Maybe sharing money that does not belong to us or must be borrowed is one of the things to quit.

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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

One Comment on “Strategic Thinking Points

  1. There needs to be awareness of when we get too rigid — or at the opposite end — too chaotic in our thinking/behaviour. This idea relates to health (Dr. Daniel Siegel). It is interesting that LinkedIn has apparently changed some of the rules of engagement. Was 3000 invitations increased to 5000 in a year. Also now can message 15 people (specific audience leads) a month which is less than previously — which makes about 180 a year. These messages can help you build relationships and are not just about the numbers. I learned this in an email this morning from a video from Sheevaun Moran . I appreciate that information comes from so many sources — and we can all benefit from these info gifts.

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