Failure to seek patterns in business results in either analysis paralysis or firefighting. The forest becomes lost in the trees. Patterns filter extraneous information, reduce complexity, focus on the essential. Only key patterns of competitive behavior are evaluated.
…Most of the major ideas in business strategy are conceptual rules of thumb about economic competition. The experience curve, the growth-share matrix, average costing, and the environments matrix are all rules of thumb. They help to pattern competitive behavior. They point toward the relevant and away from the extraneous, and suggest probable courses of action. They simplify, but cannot substitute for, the thought process.
…A learning organization can both refine its pattern recognition and revise its rules of thumb as business competition evolves. The failure of most major businesses does not involve bad initial play; at one time they grew and prospered. Rather it is a failure to learn and adapt as the business changes.