Means, Motive and Opportunity
Means, motive and opportunity, it works for murderers so why not for managers?
• Motive, the force (external or internal) that gives you the need to take action
• Means, the relevant physical and intangible resources you have that enable you to take action
• Opportunity, the suitable time and place where you can take action
The Modus Operandi
No good detective thriller is complete without a decent modus operandi, the killer’s cunning combination of means, motive and opportunity.
The motive sparks their desire. It may be as simple and obvious as the need for money. It can be subtle, personal and indeed perverse (given that murder is in itself wrong, we might be looking at degrees of perversity here).
The means, as cheap and brutal as Cluedo’s trusty old lead pipe or as convoluted as an Agatha Christie plot.
The opportunity may be a one-off set of circumstances where the killer must decide and strike on an impulse. Or it may be a regular occurrence that gives them time to plan and practice for the perfect crime. Is Professor Plum a casual visitor to the library or can you set your watch by him?
So that’s the story for murderers, where do the managers come into this?
The motive also sparks managers’ desire. Where managers differ from murderers is that their motive may not come naturally. If you don’t have a spark of inspiration then go looking for ideas. It’s important to have a motive though. You can’t afford to sit back and let events wash over you. If you do then you will become the victim of other people’s motives.
Creativity doesn’t have to be a flash of inspiration, it can come from a thorough analysis of what’s gone before and what the future looks like with all the things you have at your disposal. The means shows you what’s feasible, and it may be more than you first thought. Consider the resources you have or can obtain. It’s not just a question of assets, it’s a matter of capability as well. Back in criminal terms, get the best accomplices you can.
The opportunity, strike while you can. Recognise that there will be a limited window of opportunity of time and place when things are just right. Act too soon and you’ll blow it. Wait too long and you will miss your chance. As a rule of thumb, act sooner, rather than later. Even if it all fails, you will be happier knowing that you tried.