Results orientation

Several months ago, the Nintendo Switch became the fastest console to sell 120 million units, and the third best-selling console of all time after the PS2 (158 million) and the Nintendo DS (154 million). 

Nintendo has also sold over 100 million of its Wii consoles, many millions more than the competitor’s much more polished and souped up PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles. 

The part that resonates with me most is that the Wii’s result—and presumably the Switch’s—didn’t only happen from market analysis or reacting to direct competitors. It came from a holistic thought that involved everything, charting a bold move from intuition, and deciding to make a bet on what they thought was the right thing to do. In Nintendo Magic, Osamu Inoue writes:

Nintendo’s traditional marketplace was a proverbial sea of blood—Iwata realized there was no future in fighting a war for the territory Microsoft and Sony were determined to claim, and instead set a course for less troubled waters—that is to say, people who don’t play videogames. Therein lay their success, or so the analysis goes. 

But Iwata says this: “It would be cool if I could say ‘Yeah, I knew it all along!’ about what’s happening now, but that’s just not true. Even though I had confidence that our direction was the right one, the truth is I had no idea things were going to happen the way they did, as quickly as they did. On the contrary, it made me think, wow, when things change, they sure change fast. I still can’t be sure what it is that will make people react strongly to what we do.” 

Iwata can say this with a straight face because rather than working for results, he’d done what he thought was right; the results had followed.

One way to think about being “results-oriented,” is to do whatever it takes to achieve a certain result. This is the path of careful measurement and market research, and usually results in a red ocean outcome. You’re taking a well-trodden path with a clear, crowded, destination.

Another way to think about it is the opposite, to do whatever you think is right, and let the results happen. This is the path of evaluation, creativity, and imagination, and can result in a blue ocean outcome; you’re identifying a new, foggy, path that nobody has the courage or insight to explore, and you have conviction that it’ll take you where you want to go.

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