The dark side of business – The rise of complacency
A common pitfall for many successful organizations is the rise of complacency. Complacency attempts to ride the good feeling of having succeeded during highly competitive or any type of crisis that potentially threatens the existence of the organization.
Worries should rise when complacency builds
Those businesses and organizations which wait until they are forced to change by the market will not see the same success as companies which evolve early and work the kinks out.
The silent business killer
Look no further than Kodak. The camera and film company was a titan in their industry, holding a huge share of the market from its founding in the mid 1880’s. Without much competition and a huge consumer base, Kodak enjoyed massive success until it hit a bump in the road.
In 1975, a Kodak engineer invented the first digital camera, and saw it promptly tucked away in a closet somewhere, never to see the light of day. Kodak saw digital photos as the enemy, encroaching on the infrastructure and established place in the market that Kodak had spent so long working to develop.
Rather than cannibalize sales of film and traditional cameras in the short-term, Kodak opted to remain set in their ways, offering consumers the same product that they had for years, and by the late 1990’s, when they realized their mistake, it was too late.
Or look at Research in Motion (“RIM”), the maker of the once iconic BlackBerry.
A wise man by the name of Obi Wan Kenobi once said: It takes strength to resist the dark side. Only the weak embrace it!
A scant 10 years ago they were merely a scrappy upstart with a truly innovative idea: let’s give people the ability to get their email messages on the go. Within a few years they were no longer the scrappy upstart but the market leader.
While RIM was focused on simply staying the course with their email push technology a little company named Apple was focused on delivering an entirely new kind of product.
A multimedia and technological wonder known as the iPhone that could deliver your emails just like the BlackBerry but was cooler, hipper, more stylish. People wanted one and wanted to be seen with one. Then, as BlackBerry raced to catch up with the iPhone they were blindsided by the Android operating system.
From scrappy upstart to market leader to the free fall they have experienced in the past 18 months, RIM has seen it all. If only they had seen it coming and had not been complacent when they were on top. If only ………
Don’t fall victim to complacency – Always challenge the status quo
When complacency sets in, opportunities are missed, customer service diminishes, quality drops and the company’s performance suffers.
Always challenge the status quo. Ask questions such as, “What happens when market demands shift? How will we respond if the business starts to lose customers? Why are we doing it this way?” Too many organizations adopt an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude – with serious long-term consequences. Nothing ever stays the same so no matter how good it seems today, it’ll change.
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