Piling On

I am re-watching The Matrix Trilogy, and viewed The Matrix Reloaded this past weekend. In one of the key scenes, our hero battles his nemesis (a self-replicating computer program) on a playground. Once they begin fighting, with Neo (the hero) keeping his enemy at bay, Smith (the nemesis) calls upon dozens of replicas to help.

As with any good martial-arts fight scene, our hero uses the multitudes attacking him to his own benefit.

It’s no different in the business world. We do it all the time. We pile on in a faltering area, thinking that the extra money, manpower or whatever is going to lead us to victory. Instead, we get in our own way.

That’s not to say that marshalling resources is a waste of time, money and effort. Quite the contrary, when used appropriately. Dedicating your salesforce, advertising dollars, promotional activities or discounts usually works when you introduce a new product or a significant change to an existing product.

The waste comes in when you lag sales expectations or lose market share to a competitor, without making any internal changes yourself.

When you find yourself in this latter or similar situation, take a step back. Do a root cause analysis. Find what is at the heart of the problem, and work to correct it. Often, it will help to grab a blank sheet of paper or whiteboard or a napkin and start from scratch.

This also means you have to scrap all of your previous assumptions about what works and what doesn’t.

In the end, you’re likely to find that by simply changing the resources or how you apply them will lead to greater success than piling on more of what you are already doing.

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