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What kind of mindset should business have?

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

Imagine you are looking outside the window. You can choose to focus on a piece of leaf on your room’s windowsill or focus on something further outside the window. But apart from the notion of distance in our eyesight, the scope can also be broad or narrow. Business mindset works in the same way.

I categorised four different mindsets in the business world: narrow-short, broad-short, narrow-long and broad-long. They are mutually exclusive. For example, a company cannot have a broad-short and also narrow-long mindset at the same time. In the following few paragraphs, I will demonstrate the features of each mindset, and you can have a reflection on which category your company falls into.

Business with a narrow-short mindset is doomed to fail at a young age. This type of business tends to be addicted to competition because it only sees the current market environment and wants to beat up others to win the game. And with a narrow-minded mindset, the company tends to be stubborn and risk-seeking, putting all their eggs in one bucket as they cannot see other buckets as options. Moreover, this type of business barely gets big wins because they don't sustainably plan the company for the future perspectives. For example, they may choose the ten thousand deal now over a million deal a month later. A study showed that 90% of start-ups fail. Of course, start-ups fail for different reasons, but having a narrow-short mindset can be a vital contributing factor.

Business with a broad-short mindset tends to burn lots of cash or build their competitive advantage quite slowly. This kind of company has the curiosity and flexibility to innovate and see more market opportunities. However, without a long term strategy, the business can lose focus on its core product and spend a tremendous amount of money on different ideas. Furthermore, due to so much time wasted wandering around the market, the business may lack execution to make progress on its products. Entrepreneurs are most likely fall into this category. It is okay if the company has enough capital resources, and an MVP strategy can also be applied if without. But, in the end, the business has to find a focus to succeed in the future.

Business with a narrow-long mindset tends to have the danger of losing market share in its major product. This type of company probably already has successful products in the market and is well-established structurally. However, a narrow mindset can result in an over-confidence and risk-averse mindset, failing to innovate and explore new opportunities for its future business. Most likely big corporates can fall into this category. This type of business needs to invest their profits in talents, market research and new product development to be competitive in the long run.

Business with a broad-long mindset tends to be learning organisation. It applies the scout mindset and follows a sustainable corporate strategy. To achieve this mindset, the organisation has to be people-centred and foster a healthy corporate culture for people to work together. Opportunities fall on them because people are self-motivated to innovate and willing to learn new knowledge. Execution plans are aligned with business strategy because they have outstanding leadership on board.


Book to read: "The Scout Mindset" ------- Julia Galef

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