“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”  – Michael Porter

This is a quote that I often return too.

Something that I’m naturally excellent at is considering alternatives.  I see paths where others don’t.  StrengthsFinder describes this ability to generate options as “Strategic.”

Porter puts a finer point on it by emphasizing selection among options.

One of my objectives this 6 week cycle is to begin marketing SEO as a service of our business.

It’s something we’ve offered to clients on a project basis in the past and have achieved some terrific results. However, we don’t have a deep bench of SEOs to do ongoing optimizations.

Thinking strategically, I can see several options to circumvent our lack of in-house talent.  I’m just not sure that we should.

What’s causing me to drag my feet is that SEO doesn’t build on our strengths as a team.  It doesn’t leverage our current capabilities, but is rather an investment into growing new capabilities.

Maybe we should become that kind of business?  I’m not sure.

There’s a step between being strategic and having a strategy.  It’s a deliberate consideration of choices over time (strategy), in support of an intent to accomplish something (goal), in a specific way (tactics). If Porter is right, it should clearly define what you won’t do.

If Porter held your feet to the fire and asked you what your strategy for growth is, would you lay out a detailed plan with trade-offs, or would it sound like, “We’re trying to do x using y?”

Featured image is the cover of “Greene’s Groats-worth of Wit 1592.” Scholars attribute the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” to a reworking of a criticism the author, Greene, made of a young Shakespeare. The criticism being that Shakespeare both acted and wrote. Used under public domain.