How to know when you’ve made a strategic blunder

Feb 3, 2011

On Monday we saw that failing to correct a strategic blunder early traps you into the law of compounded business growth loss and results in a dramatically reduced annual performance. On Tuesday we saw what the three most common early strategic errors are.But how do you know if you really have made a strategic mistake, or if you’re simply harboring doubts that don’t yet require action?

Here’s what I look for when I’m helping business owners and CEO’s answer that question:

1. You had doubts at the original point of decision (making the hire, launching the product etc), and havered quite a while before finally pulling the trigger and saying ‘yes’.

2. Something didn’t sit quite right in your intuition immediately after pulling the trigger.

3. You’ve been working hard to see ‘the good side’ of your decision ever since you made it.

4. Other people you trust have expressed concern about the decision.

5. When you think of unravelling the decision, you are overwhelmed by the implications of doing so.

6. You’re more than usually concerned about how you will look to others if you undo the decision.

7. You’ve started mapping out future ‘triggers’ – event that will cause you to reconsider the decision.

8. You’re finding excuses to avoid interacting with the person or thing that is the root of the issue (the new hire, the new product, the new alignment – whatever).

If you’re doing 6 or more of these, you’ve made a strategic error and you need to fix it now. If you’re doing 4-6 of them, chances are high, but you should give it a little more time to see if any of the other behaviors emerge. Less than 4 and you’re just experiencing ‘normal’ post-decision stress.