The peanut butter strategy

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Have you heard of the peanut butter strategy? That’s the one where a company spreads its resources thinly across lots of initiatives, so none of them have enough critical mass to make real progress. I’m not a fan of it. It’s a lost chance to do something big to move the company forward.

peanut butter sandwich
Photo by Nora Ghaoui

Avoiding the peanut butter strategy means making choices – namely, what to stop doing. That doesn’t happen nearly often enough due to our tendency towards loss aversion.

Not doing something sounds like a riskier choice than doing a little bit of everything and keeping all options open. Except that the options are not really open if they’re moving along at a snail’s pace. Someone faster will come along and capture the opportunity before you.

It takes critical mass to make progress, whether it’s developing a new product, running a large marketing campaign or mobilising out a sales team to attract a new customer base. If there’s too much going on, and too little progress, consider having a little less peanut butter.

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