Cookie Cutter Thinking

A very smart friend of mine made an interesting observation to me earlier this week.  He said that many people who lack experience dealing with a certain type of circumstance will apply a cookie cutter approach when thinking about the solution.  The point he was making was that complex problems are usually not the same and have many different variables.  If you apply a cookie cutter approach to the problem you are likely not thinking deeply enough about all of the variables that could effect the outcome.

You have heard people say, “I have seen this movie before”.  Well, when it comes to strategic business decisions there is a strong chance that this movie might appear to be similar, but is really different.  Maintaining the self awareness and humility to know that you have may been taught something, told something or even experienced something your self, you should always ask your self the question, “what is different this time than last?”

My friend called this advanced pattern matching.  You are not just looking for 70% of the variables to be similar because, more often than not, a few, or even one, of the variables will have an out sized impact on the outcome.


4 Comments on “Cookie Cutter Thinking”

  1. Chris says:

    Matt,
    You have a smart friend there.
    Striking the balance between vision, and learning the right lessons is difficult; but something that in my career I have been conditioned to do. So I think it is teachable, because it is an attribute that is fairly highly rewarded in our institution.

  2. Nice, and thanks for sharing this info with us.Good Luck!

  3. I had always wanted to learn about this topic … I think it’s great the way you expose .. great work and continuing on with this great blog


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