What crime teaches us about strategy

Funny thing I read a few weeks back. That all crimes are the result of three intertwined notions.

Motive, means and opportunity.

Motive is what drives someone to actually commit a crime.

But it’s not enough.

Because we can be highly motivated to do something but have no way of doing it.

We still need means and opportunity.

Means defines that we’re actually able to do it.

In the right circumstances at least.

And opportunity is the setting of those circumstances.

So, motive, means and opportunity.

Removing or changing one of them, results may vary.

The same goes with strategy.

It’s all part of one focused design.

Crafted to fulfill a particular set of objectives.

And changing one or many pieces will necessarily alter the final result.

So you could say motive is like an objective.

The “why”.

Means is a set of actions we can perform to fulfill that objective.

The “what”.

And opportunity is the timing in which we perform those actions.

The “when”.

Not a complete strategic framework, of course.

But a powerful metaphor regarding how different pieces fit together to accomplish something.

And it actually makes sense.

Because strategy in the end is a plan devised to fulfill an objective, using lateral thinking.

And since sometimes it’s such a hard concept to grasp.

Maybe we can shed some light using the right metaphors.

Like crime.

Another funny thing about this comparison.

It’s that just like there is no perfect crime.

There’s also no perfect strategy.

Because strategy is like a scientific hypothesis.

It’s something we craft based on information at hand.

The more information we have, the higher the probability of us being right.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll always be right.

Takes time to live with this reality.

But it wouldn’t be half as valuable if it were an exact science.


Update: I wrongfully used the term "capacity" instead of the correct one, "means". Hat tip to Bruno Amaral for pointing it out to me.