When you are not getting the results you want, is it better to try harder or diversify your options? While there are myriad circumstances, when the law of averages governs the game you are playing, more options, attempts and scenarios can be a strategic move.
Instead of working hard on one relationship build a hundred more with different people.
Instead of trying to make one market or channel work, test others to uncover more opportunities.
Instead of putting everything in one employee’s responsibility, load balance and create redundancies with several team members.
The strategy fits situations where working harder with determination has diminishing returns. And instead of getting locked into less optionality you can open up more channels for opportunity and feedback. You mitigate risk and get to look at what percolates from diversification.
In addition, you can add the hard work and number of attempts into your new options to see what outcomes will produce results.
When I was a kid, I played a lot of sports. Some came easier than others. At some point, I had diminishing returns playing baseball. I put in hours and hours throwing, catching and batting. But I could easily see how teammates had better results for their efforts. It didn’t discourage me, but even as a young kid, I could tell I had an upper limit.
I went on to other sports with some successes and some mediocrity. But trying a lot of them and testing for what I could get out of myself gave me perspective on what would work for me, much like many other youngsters discover.
Eventually, I found that distance running fit. I got results from putting work in. Not my first pick of sports, but I had to go with what worked and I made that my bread and butter sport through high school and college at the expense of other sports. It was worth it to me for the work I was going to put in.
There’s a world of options we can easily get overwhelmed by out there.
A platform that your customers interact on would make for the best use of your time, for example.
A group of friends can be much more fun and rewarding than other social groups with different tastes.
And if you find yourself getting stuck, merely working harder, then how about taking that energy, time and focus to diversify far and wide? Use that strategy to create new momentum and insights that help you get out of the rut. Going wide can create new energy and opportunity in contrast to simply pushing deeper into things you are comfortable doing.
This is especially true for things that used to work in a different era and don’t work as well anymore. The better strategy is to diversify and open up new channels you may not have considered. Do it at the expense of what you already know or are accustomed to.
Ultimately, you are giving yourself better probabilities of finding higher returns of your time, money and attention.
What do you need to stop working harder at and go wider with instead?