Boxes and why you should avoid them

by Vinaya HS on August 22, 2006

in The SP Jain Blog

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Read a few management journals and you would be forgiven for thinking that any problem on Earth can be solved by a set of four boxes. Yep. Four boxes is all it takes for name and fame in the world of management. Google around and you will find tons of four-box solutions all claiming to solve your business [and personal] problems. These boxes are also a great way to identify an MBA graduate. The moment someone gives you advise by drawing four boxes on a piece of paper you know where he or she comes from.

Along the way, some genius at management thinking probably decided that four boxes were insufficient, and therefore came up with six-box and even nine-box matrices.

So what does a typical four box approach look like? Here’s Boston Consulting Group’s version of the four boxes, affectionately called the BCG Matrix.

BCG matrix

And here’s another one from Michael Porter.

Porter matrix

If you happen to be a bit adventurous in your thinking, then you can really think out of the box and come up with something like this:

GE-McKinsey matrix

This, by the way, is the GE-McKinsey Matrix.

In my opinion, it’s best to avoid such boxes. There’s not a lot you can do with them.

[Blogged from 26-2-05]

Thanks for reading this article. I'd love to hear your opinion. Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts. I frequently write new articles that also cover several other aspects of personal finance including credit cards, financial goals, health insurance, income tax, life insurance, mutual funds, retirement planning, and much more. You can Subscribe through Email and receive new articles directly in your Inbox or you can Subscribe through the RSS Feed and receive new articles in your feed reader.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Vinayak August 22, 2006 at 10:09 AM

Well, my thoughts on this… Matrices, Boxes, graphs are to aid ppl in their decisions, but many a time v just dont understand the damn thing!

But somehow, the boxes tend to display things easily..i think thats what makes them attractive! n since these r somewat forced down ur gut in B-schools, the so called MBAs tend to follow the stereotypes! As Mr Piramal, CMD Nicholas Piramal put it y’day , “all the market research stuff only gives u some feel of wat it cd be like…but finally its ur own deep burning desire n Will that will see u through!”

Vinaya, u wl be surprised – i used to draw a options-pros-cons-priority for making major decisions even before coming to SP and have even suggested some of my close frenz to follow it when in trouble n they liked it…..i guess as i said it helps to represent things in an easier manner!

VINAYA SAYS….”OMG, ur comment is lengthier than my post”…hehe, so lemme sign off folks!:)

Goutham August 22, 2006 at 10:23 AM

I now know from where the phrase “THINKING OUT OF THE BOX” found its roots.

Ramesh August 23, 2006 at 10:00 AM

these matrices may not give u d exact ans to ur prom, but thy give a way to think n approach ur problems….
ths also minimises the ‘time to solution’…and very well appreciated by top mgmt whn u make a presentation @ new plans… ;))
So… my take is
‘learn n understand these concepts and take as u want’

but great to go ahead dude…..


Smiling Girl August 23, 2006 at 1:34 PM

Hehe… I didnt understand any of them.. :)

Anindita September 3, 2006 at 6:01 PM

hey nice writeup as usual..tired of these boxes and triangles now..!!!!!! ;-)))
BTW ur snap here is grt

Ash kumar January 6, 2011 at 7:53 AM

It’s really wonderful method to teach by snaps…

René Michelsen October 20, 2011 at 2:48 PM

I had to make at surgestion to the company, where I work, and I found your blog. I just send the email including the BCG matrix.

For our situation it was just spot on to explane how we attack our market. So thanks very much, for the matrix.

P.s. I went to b-school.

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