Businesses Need More Thinking

As a regular reader of the Wall Street Journal’s business news, I couldn’t help but notice when the highlighted point “Too much information and too little thought” appeared in an article on the op-ed page. The article was about politics. But, that highlighted statement also applies widely to business. And, it ties in well with what this blog covers.

The article is “The Politics of ‘The Shallows’” by Peggy Noonan in the October 1-2 issue of the Wall Street Journal, where the statement about too much information was highlighted as a pull quote. Noonan describes how so many people now get much of their knowledge of history from movies or from superficial internet sources, “quick and shallow reads that link to other quick and shallow reads”. According to the article, these sources often offer much information, but result in little thinking.

From what I am seeing, lack of thinking is not limited to politics. Business decisions are also vulnerable to “too much information and to little thought”. It is not unusual to see companies seeming to follow the latest business fad, apparently without thoroughly thinking through whether or not that’s what’s best for the company.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, there is so much information that can help guide businesses. Granted, some of it, especially on the internet, can be shallow quick reads. However, a great deal of information now available can provide valuable input to business decisions. Despite the challenging business conditions and seemingly constant change these days, so much more is known about what drives business success. Still, companies often seem to be making decisions without giving enough thought to what the information means and how it applies to their business. Even when making really major strategic choices, they can often do too little thinking and easily undermine their potential for success.

So, there is value in devoting effort to strategic thinking. Furthermore, with the huge volumes of data available today, giving more thought to what the data really means can help companies make the right strategic moves. Sometimes, data may not mean what it appears to mean on the surface, and thinking can help clarify matters. Often, understanding key patterns and, then, thinking through how they apply can make a big difference in whether or not a company performs well.

Thus, in today’s era of so much more data, businesses should strive to avoid getting stuck in “too much information and too little thought”. That’s why, in this blog and in my newsletters, I strive to provide content that reflects thinking through how business success patterns apply to current news. After all, businesses need more thinking.

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