In a recent interview, former Indiana Governor and Purdue President Mitch Daniels laid out his thinking as the University begins to chart a new strategic plan. Daniels presents a vision resistant to complacency, stressing the importance of choices, “a real strategy is defined by what it leaves out,” he said. “If you can’t name some important choices that were not included, it’s probably not a very good guide because you can’t try to do everything.”
Don’t do everything. Invest in what you do well. This isn’t novel wisdom, but its advice that rarely seems to stick. Overextending resources is a failure of vision, a vain attempt to examine the landscape, see everything, learn nothing, and imitate without nuance. This is a cross industry pitfall. There’s simply too many ideas, practices, and products for one person or organization to do many well. Jack of all trades is a master of none.