Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Identity and strategy
I have been thinking about the leadership lessons of the film series "the wire" One theme is the link between identity and strategy. At a critical point the two leaders of the drug gang Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell, face a strategy question. Stringer believes that they have made enough money from drugs and could make a lot more with a lot less hassle by investing their money legitimately for example in downtown real estate. Avon does not dispute Stringer's logic but comes to understand through the dialogue that he is basically a gangster and cannot be a businessman. So the strategy question devolves into a question of identity. We need to answer the question "who are we' before we can answer the question "what can we do." This sequence seems important when any institution faces a turning point. Yahoo failed because they have not been able to create an identity to replace the outmoded idea of being a "portal"