Do you ever wonder why, during a dying industry, or the collapse of a deliverable many sell themselves on their relevancy while their evacuating customers define them as irrelevant?
Look at Sears, just one of the many bricks and mortar retail organizations which continue the delusion of their relevance over their impending death. Look at the Copy/Print industry as they continue believing more on the value of printed pages than their customers, or examine the Cable industry as they continue living in denial of the power of Facebook, Google, or Netflix, their competitors who are replacing them with a better experience. We could add many to the list. No one wants to admit they are becoming irrelevant, or discuss how they could be defeated. Well, that is unless they are innovative, and appreciate the power of customer experiences over customer relationships. Relationship obsession must balance with understanding the relevance of what feeds the relationship. Many customers had a great relationship with Blockbuster they left for the better experience of Netflix. Don’t fool yourself into the monetary value of a business relationship.
“You can be the vendor with the greatest relationships and lose to the unknown vendor who delivers a better experience.”
Those who remain relevant. Understand there are no sacred parts, people, or processes to their business, and they are willing to replace anything needed to stay relevant. Truly innovative companies understand how to eliminate what was to create what it should be. Truly innovative companies understand the dysfunction of stubborn to modify.
“In the distance between the business plan and the business failure is where you find Stubbornness to modify.”
A sure sign your industry is threatened by innovation its thought leaders spend more time discussing why they are relevant. As an example, the Cable industry leaders justifying declining numbers by acquiring competitors then ignoring the massive unplugging, the Print industry believing growth through acquisition means the industry’s growing and ignoring the evaporation of print volumes or the reductions in the manufacturing of print devices.
Who are they fooling? How many articles on the demise of Sears which always include a sentence or two of hope? Does anyone believe that Sears will make it? They waited too long, had too many managers in too short of time. They should have brought in a leader. Disrupted Industries can’t manage their way out of obsolesces they must be led out of it. The only change at Sears is the date of their bankruptcy. I am sure soon we will read an article saying average store revenue is up 50 % over last year. Of course, they would have closed 80% of their stores. It’s only when Leaders of declining industries can destroy what made them relevant yesterday they can create the new. They do this by leaving behind the baggage of the way it was as they take the train to the way it will be. It’s the birth of something new where the reward of survival is determined.
So if your industry is becoming irrelevant and its leaders are hoping they retire before the customers leave them, be concerned. If your industry consultants are more concerned about telling their customers what they want to hear, instead of the truth, be concerned, or if your industry leaders brag about growth through acquisition rather than customer acceptance, be concerned. It takes a group of determined collaborators to win against the death associated with the way it was. Challenge yourself to look for and listen to opposing views apply common sense. Then create the needed change. Stop the survival game and begin the thriving game.
Most importantly remember this:
“A Company becomes obsolete when they focus on bringing the past to the future instead of bringing the future to the present.”