Monday, 12 April 2010

Threats and Opportunities

The classic view of the external business environment, taught at business schools everywhere, is through the lens of ‘threats and opportunities’.

Responding to ‘threats’, is about looking to the future in order to survive the cut and thrust of a constantly evolving business landscape. Responding to ‘opportunities’, is about looking to the future to grow the business to exploit new markets, new technologies and new ways to do business.

I believe in looking at the world as a series of opportunities. Focussing on threats, leads to defensive strategies and risk-averse tactics. Focussing on opportunities, leads to risk taking and support for innovation. These latter behaviours are the ones that I favour.

These same deep-rooted mental approaches apply also to government and to all of us. People, who focus on the threat of climate change, are digging themselves into a defensive rut of narrow thinking that attempts to squeeze carbon out of the processes we now operate. People, who focus on the opportunities that arise, are getting on with the work of transforming society to sever society’s reliance on fossil fuels.

There is a huge difference between shuffling forward in a timid manner driven by fear and leaping forward taking the problems that arise in our stride. I would rather be running a little too fast than shuffling far too slow.

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