The World is obsessed with actions. Stakeholders want them. Accountants value them. Politicians couldn’t survive without them.
In Physics, potential energy matters as much as kinetic energy. Employers hire potential, recognising that strength comes not just from proven action, but from having versatility under uncertain conditions. Astute buyers bypass one deal, knowing others will follow. Smart managers intuitively know the value of having options, whether accountants value them on the Balance Sheet or not. Being light on your feet helps. But being able to exercise a portfolio of options AND pivot quickly is better.
Cultures progress because they’ve created options to evolve. A culture is visible in its actions – speeches about values, its spoken language, performing arts and time-honoured customs. But a culture’s strength comes from its resilience, adaptability, agility and how its representatives managing the options they make and hold. The Jewish people suffering in Nazi concentration camps endured, died and suffered. But the culture prevailed. The Jewish culture (including representation from deathcamp survivors) was easily strong and resourceful enough to outlast Nazi oppression.
For an SME business, developing a distinctive service or product is great. But flexibility promotes sustainability. Large, external shocks, whether global depressions, subprime credit crunches or virus pandemics will test fledgling businesses to the max. But those holding options will survive and prosper.
Therefore, both at a personal level and at a business start-up capacity, learn what you can about business flexibility (an umbrella term for resilience, adaptability, agility and options management). If only to improve your risk management practices.