Trade-Offs Are Absolutely Necessary for Success


I never enjoyed this lesson in life but it’s true. And many people and most businesses I work with don’t enjoy it either because it forces a trade-off between what we want and what’s best. For example, some people know it’s best to eat healthily but they also want to eat what they want, when they want. The cookie seems to win. Some businesses know that cutting that pet project is best, but they like the perks that it brings to them personally, so the project seems to win.

Michael Porter says that “a strategic position is not sustainable unless there are trade-offs”.

In a culture of abundance, this might be the hardest principle for leaders today. It forces us to truly understand the consequences of our decisions and to make a clear choice between two options that both seem optimal.

In Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, he gives us a great perspective on trade-offs. He states “Trade-offs are not about asking to give something up. Instead, it’s about asking what do I want to go big on?”

As you think about trade-offs in your life and business, ask yourself these questions:
• What do I want to go BIG on?
• What outcomes do I really want at the end of this year?
• Is this choice going to bring me closer or farther away from the one BIG outcome?

Have a great day!