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Overthrowing Successful Companies

viva la revolution

That might sound threatening, but really… it’s not. I had the opportunity to meet and hear , the co-author of , last week at a luncheon event sponsored by and . It was an excellent event. Polly spoke about the main theme of her book, that in industry after industry business as usual is not working anymore and that businesses that were once dismissed as “mavericks” are the ones that are now growing fast. The mavericks are the success stories. This is because they stand for something original, and continue to innovate on their business model. She also offered and expanded on a couple important concepts. The one that really resonated with me was the idea of “overthrowing successful companies.” This is not a bad thing, but speaks more to the challenges of creating an environment of creativity, innovation and change in companies that have been historically performing just fine. Her point is that “just fine” is not reflective of the realities of changing markets, customer demands, and operational challenges… not to mention hypercompetiton. In essence, for many companies it is required that they be taken over by new ways of thinking, by a focus on executing on new opportunity. Overthrowing a company means rethinking the logic of how business gets done, and IMPROVING on that logic.

This is not something to take lightly and it is a concept that has revolutionary undertones for a reason. This is because, like nations, organizations resist change and this is in large part due to the difference between those who have power and those who do not. Those who wield power in business are often much more concerned with perpetuating the status quo then with reinventing the business model. Reinvention is hard work, it requires an open mind and a fresh approach. When you are already successful, that is a tough option. The point, really, is that success is fleeting. Those organizations that figure this out and continue to change and evolve stand to sustain and maximize successes. They stand to succeed in the face of innumerable challenges by offering a better way to lead and a better way to compete. A better way to do things. So many businesses are defined by models that were developed decades ago, isn’t it time that we shake those models up and explore better alternatives?

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