Greg McKeown, writing for Harvard Business Review:
Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically
become very successful? One important explanation is due to what
I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four
- Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to
- Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and
- Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it
leads to diffused efforts.
- Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to
our success in the first place.
Curiously, and overstating the point in order to make it, success
is a catalyst for failure.
(Via Kottke.) I like this as a basic theory for understanding Apple’s exceptional success. Steve Jobs was famous for his pride in saying “no”. At All Things D in 2004, asked about an Apple PDA: “I’m as proud of the products that we have not done as I am of the products we have done.” (Other examples here and here.)
Tim Cook, at the 2010 Goldman Sachs technology conference:
We can put all of our products on the table you’re sitting at.
Those products together sell $40 billion per year. No other
company can make that claim except perhaps an oil company. We are
the most focused company that I know of, or have read of, or have
any knowledge of.
We say no to good ideas every day; we say no to great ideas; to
keep the number of things we focus on small in number.
★ Wednesday, 22 August 2012