THE MARKET ISN'T A BATTLEFIELD
So what can we take from Drucker's influence, and what can we let go of? First, nothing is all good or all bad. There's value in thinking strategically about your business: looking at the past, gathering data, analyzing patterns you see, and using that information to make more informed decisions. There's also a lot to learn from the military and strategic thinkers of the past. One of the best books I can recommend on this topic is On Grand Strategy by John Lewis Gaddis. A professor at Yale, Gaddis brings together a variety of stories from the ancient world through World War II. Knowing the origins of strategic thinking and the context of those origins is valuable to decipher what is and isn't relevant in our present-day experience of capitalism. Without that reflection, we are left mindlessly propagating outdated thinking that is destructive.
If you find yourself basing a strategy on competition, you're using an outdated model of thinking. As I said in a previous newsletter:
Competition, outside of the appropriate arena, is born of scarcity—fear masked as dominance. It assumes that the market is limited, instead of understanding that we create the market for both our products and our teams. Scarcity shows up in business when we believe that we need a position to win or when we need to have employees with predictable behavior to grow.
As you move forward, check where your own militaristic thinking is influencing the way you approach your business growth. How much fear do you project onto the market, and what are you at war with? And when all of this gets old, consider what growth might look like if you finally surrender control.