The SP Jain Blog

Boxes and why you should avoid them

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]

7 thoughts on “Boxes and why you should avoid them

  1. 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!:)

  2. Vinaya….
    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…..


  3. 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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