On Opportunities

  1. An opportunity is as real as an ingredient in business as raw material, labour or finance – but it only exists when you can see it
  2. We can take it for granted that every corporation is environment-conscious, progressive, humane, creative and opportunity-conscious – or can we?
  3. To get something done we need to combine method and motivation. Motivation without method is ineffective. Method without motivation sits on a library shelf.
  4. You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper.
  5. Repairing the leaks in an old boat will not build a new one.
  6. Problem-finding is just as important as problem-solving but much more difficult and much more rare.
  7. An executive’s style determines not what he is capable of but what he will allow himself to do.
  8. It is absurd to recruit intelligent men into an organisation and then to blame them for acting intelligently.
  9. Just before it comes into existence every business is an opportunity that someone has seen.
  10. Our cultural attitude towards opportunity is more than tinged with envy. There are always more people who wished they had spotted the opportunity than those who have done so.
  11. Dealing with complacency is like trying to drill a hole in treacle: there is no resistance but at the end there is no impression left.
  12. Unfortunately opportunity hunger arises from appetite and not from starvation.
  13. An opportunity is a course of action that is possible and obviously worth pursuing.
  14. One most sensible way to avoid thinking about opportunities is to assume that they are someone else’s business.
  15. With a problem you search for the solution, with an opportunity you search for the benefit.
  16. We know that in the general it is essential to look for opportunities but we also know that in particular it is very rarely sensible to do so.
  17. In the opportunity search exercise an executive is active in setting up his own initiatives instead of always being the passive recipient of directives from above.
  18. Like the four legs of a table the four elements of the opportunity search exercise work together to give a stable and practical structure.
  19. The purpose of formality is to avoid drift, distraction and confusion. The purpose of focus is to allow us to see things which are obvious once we are looking at them.
  20. Opportunity space is defined by all the worthwhile things we have it in our power to do – if only we could think of them.
  21. If a situation seems likely to be affected by an idea then we may call that situation an idea-sensitive area.
  22. If the purpose of Opportunity Audit is to sanction initiative, that initiative must be put forward somewhere in a form of concrete enough to be sanctioned.
  23. Progress is assessed by looking forwards to see how much of the task is yet to be done rather than by looking backwards to see what has already been achieved.
  24. Most of us have many more ideas than we can act upon.
  25. The role of the Opportunity Manager is to manage the opportunity search exercise and generally to co-ordinate opportunity development within a corporation.
  26. The role of the Opportunity Team is to act as the opportunity nerve centre of an organisation.
  27. The value of a task force is that it cuts across lines of allegiance or interest in order to focus on the task in hand.
  28. Thinking is the operating skill whereby intelligence acts upon experience.
  29. Sometimes we set out to reach destinations but at other times we set out on a voyage of exploration.
  30. In order to get going we need a starting point for our thinking. There is no harm in making a formal check-list of such starting points.
  31. With a problem we can define; in advance, the desired destination or end-point of our thinking.
  32. Like a new-born baby a new idea must, at first, be nourished by care and indulged attention.
  33. An opportunity is a mixture of uncertainty and action. The more we are in control of the uncertainty the more effective will the action be.
  34. An opportunity may be an opportunity if you can hitch a ride – but not if you have to walk.
  35. Whenever we are dealing with the future we are dealing with risk and uncertainty and whenever any change is proposed that risk and uncertainty is greatly increased.
  36. If the benefits cannot be spelled out clearly and precisely there is no opportunity. There may be a calculated risk involved in achieving the benefits but the benefits must be clearly perceived.
  37. Words are concept handles. We sometimes need a new word or expression in order to deal comfortably with a complex idea.

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