Well it's that time of year again, actually, the best time of the year, in my opinion, and I've been thinking a lot about basketball. My alma matter Kentucky Wildcats got thrashed by Florida today, and it got me thinking about business strategy.
You see, every basketball team has a style that it likes to play, and the goal of every game is to play your style because that is what you are good at. When teams that run-and-gun play teams that grind it out in the half-court, whichever team dictates the pace of the game will usually win. But sometimes you don't match up well. Kentucky had problems today with the height of Florida guard Matt Walsh. His height enabled him to play off Kentucky's guard (Sparks) to stop penetration, but still be a threat if Sparks tried to shoot. On offense, Walsh could typically shoot over whoever was guarding him. So the question is, do you change your style because of the situation? I mean, these guys have played these positions all year. Do you change them up for this one game? Good things could happen, or they could be lost.
It's the same way with a business team. You could build an excellent team that can innovate, market, sell, and execute. You could dominate the market. But then a competitor comes along and changes the game a bit. How do you decide whether to buckle down and fight or re-shuffle your team? It could be that your team can't win the game the way it is played. Or it could be that re-shuffling your team could wreak havoc on your business. It's a tough call. That's why high level executives get the big bucks. Ultimately, you have to make a decision based on your best understanding of the team, the market, and the competitors. It's not easy, and there aren't really any books or courses that can prepare you for it. But there is one thing you can do to help. Hire for attitude and personality, not technical skill. A team of smart dynamic people will adapt better than a team of duds who had the best skill set (because those skills may now be irrelevant). At least, that's what I believe.