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Resist Taking on Too Many Opportunities to Make the Greatest Improvement

Mar 7, 2008
Many people cannot resist chocolates. Put chocolates anywhere near them, and the candy disappears like morning dew on a hot day. As a result, these people weigh a great deal more than they would like.

What solution do most pursue? They keep chocolate out of their offices, homes, and cars. They also avoid walking near any parts of stores where chocolates are offered.

Opportunities are even more addictive than chocolate. Opportunity is what dreams are made of, and few executives want to dream any less about great success.

The opposing irresistible force is the fact that the more opportunities the enterprise takes on, the less likely it is that anything it does will work. The euphoria of going after the new opportunity is often a defensive reaction to the losses of the past.

Some companies have such a large appetite for opportunities that they are drowning in the predictable problems entailed by pursuing many different, difficult directions at the same time. These enterprises are subject to the irresistible force of having their standard systems for accomplishing results break down. Such breakdowns can take many different forms.

For rapidly growing companies, the cash to pay for the expansion may be missing. For companies with lots of new businesses under development, there may be a shortage of skilled people to explore these opportunities. For companies that have promised steady economic performance, wrenching budget-shortfall-driven conflicts can provide enormous strains.

The psychology of this circumstance is much like that of the Las Vegas gambler with a "proven system" for beating the house. Those who work in casinos report that one of the most common beliefs is that the odds shift in your favor if you have lost a certain number of bets in a row.

Losing gamblers will begin to double their bets each time they lose, up to the house limit on these bets, in effect, putting their defensive side forward. If the cards or the wheel run cold (as they do about half the time), the gambler quickly loses their entire stake by having given up the chance to let the odds even out in her or his favor.

In the same way, companies that have been failing with new opportunities will usually take larger and larger risks, both in size and difficulty, hoping to make up their losses in one great win. Seldom do they succeed.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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