Green and Growing or Ripe and Rotten!

| March 1, 2012

If there is one thing in life that is certain, it is that change is inevitable and yet why do so many of us resist it? Why do so many leading companies ultimately become redundant dinosaurs? Take Detroit and the auto industry for example. They became so complacent and arrogant in their success, they completely failed to adapt to blatant changes taking place around them which ultimately led to Detroit’s demise:

  • Instead of listening to customers who wanted more fuel-efficient cars, they built bigger gas guzzlers.
  • Instead of taking the new competition from Japan seriously, they stubbornly insisted that “Made in the USA” meant best in the world.
  • Instead of learning more efficient “lean manufacturing” methods adopted by their competitors, they clung to the same practices they had used for decades.
  • Instead of rewarding the best people in the company and firing the worst, they promoted people based on longevity and nepotism.
  • Instead of adapting quickly to changing markets, executives set up “committees” and held endless meetings while competitors stormed ahead capturing their markets.

So why do so many winners end up like Detroit? According to Reid Hoffman, cofounder and Chairman of LinkedIn, three common threads run through all such companies:

  • The failure to recognize & match competition
  • An unwillingness to exploit opportunities that contain risk
  • An inability to adapt to relentless change

Are you guilty of any of these? Do you know your true competitive advantage or are you articulating the same bla-bla message as your competitors? Do you take on intelligent risk to expoit opportunities and create something great or do you choose to remain in your comfort zone? Are you building a network of alliances to help you achieve your goals? Are you embracing or resisting the changes you see taking place around you?

Netflix is a fine example of a company who embraces change. The company has shifted its focus over the years as it contunally adapts to the market place. Reed Hastings, its CEO says it’s imperative that they stay nimble. He believes they should always be in the test phase – he calls it a mindset of “permanent beta.”

Is your mindset one of permanent beta? Afterall, if you’re not green and growing, you’re ripe and rotten!


Category: Culture, Operational Excellence

About Amanda Elison: View author profile.

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