Next, recognize that an executive team is surrounded by people who have an agenda that has nothing to do with these numbers. They are bombarded by ideas spanning everything from putting kombucha in the fridge to launching a new product in a different industry. Part of being strategic is recognizing that most companies do too many things, and most things don’t matter.
So the best strategic thinkers constantly ask themselves, “Who cares?” Who cares if 10% more people visit your web site? Who cares if you can sell a product for $10 instead of $5? The numbers backing your idea have to connect to the high-level numbers in a meaningful way, or it’s probably not worth doing. Most people stop turning the screw too early, pitching the opportunity but not the cost, or neglecting to calculate the full impact of the idea on the business. Keep challenging yourself with “so what?” until you can say “that’s what,” in one simple sentence — until you can decide it doesn’t matter, or can explain how it really does.