Toyota's Production System is a paradox.
On one hand, it is rigidly structured with nothing left to chance. Every activity, connection and flow in a Toyota plant is meticulously studied and analyzed.
At the same time, Toyota's operations are remarkably flexible and responsive to customer demands. They're able to produce a wide variety of models and styles with no loss of efficiency. How do they do it?
Two Harvard Business School professors, Kent Bowen and Steven Spear, spent four years studying the inner workings of Toyota. After visiting more than 40 plants, they "decoded" Toyota's DNA in a widely-read publication that is attached.
Reading this "classic" is a must for your business education. You'll get insights into the importance of making both the right strategic and tactical choices.
Long-term business success comes from first making the right decisions about "What to do." Then you've got to flawlessly execute your strategy with efficient operations.
You can't have one without the other. Sometimes a short-term competitive advantage can be obtained with low-pricing, for example, but you need both to sustain your competitive advantage.
That's why there aren't many businesses that maintain their success over a long term. And no less important is sticking with those choices.
That's why you'll never see Southwest Airlines doing anything except selling airplane rides and Toyota only making cars that people want.