Monday, April 10, 2017

Channel Your Inner Cat to Survive in Business

The statistics paint a bleak picture:
  • From 2001-2011, only about 10% of companies actually met their growth targets, Bain & Co. find.
  • Only 13% of Fortune 100 companies were able to sustain as little as 2% annual real revenue growth from one decade to the next over the past 50 years, reports CEB Inc.
Well, that’s enough to make many leaders go back to bed and pull the covers over their heads. But for the ones willing to fight through such a tough environment, Leonard Sherman advises they channel their inner cat.
Sherman explains that in such a competitive dogfight, it’s the companies that are clever, bold and independent – like cats – that will be the ones to survive and thrive.
“The market doesn’t stay still. You go back hundreds of years, and you’re going to see one evolution after another,” Sherman says. “If companies try to stop the clock, they will wind up being left behind.”
Companies like Kodak and Blockbuster failed because they were defending current market positions and didn’t differentiate themselves with new products or services, he says. If companies fail to constantly renew their competitive advantage with innovative ideas, then the market becomes saturated. Competitors will begin attacking current products with comparable or better products – often at a lower cost, he explains.
Sherman, executive in residence and adjunct professor of marketing and management at the Columbia Business School, also has worked as an Accenture senior partner and J.D. Power and Associates managing partner.
He says that experience has shown him that the pace of change is more rapid than ever before, and those “that go with the flow will be left behind.”
One of the biggest problems, he says, is that many companies don’t seem to know their own strategy. “There is so much going on when managing a complex company, and every day people are throwing out suggestions and bombarding the leader. That’s when action can be confused with progress,” he says. “It’s a rare CEO that can cut through the noise and distraction. That’s why you hear it at all levels that people just aren’t sure where the company is headed.”
He says that Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has the right idea (read more here)

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