The why imperative
Successful organizations spend a lot of time saying, "that's not what we do."
It's a requirement, because if you do everything, in every way, you're sunk. You got to where you are by standing for something, by approaching markets and situations in a certain way. Sure, Nike could make money in the short run by licensing their name to a line of wines and spirits, but that's not what they do.
"That's not what we do," is the backbone of strategy, it determines who you are and where you're going.
Except in times of change. Except when opportunities come along. Except when people in the organization forget to ask, "why?"
If the only reason you don't do something is because you never did, that's not a good reason. If the environment has changed dramatically and you are feeling pain because of it, this is a great reason to question yourself, to ask why.
The why factor is really clear online. Simon and Schuster or the Encyclopedia Britannica could have become Google (organizing the world's information) but they didn't build a search engine because that's not what they do. Struggling newspapers could have become thriving networks of long tail content, but they chose not to, because that's not what they do.
That's the key question, one that organizations large and small need to ask a lot more often now that the economy is officially playing by new rules.