Why is defence not valued in business?
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As early as in our childhood, from kindergarten upwards, we are trained to be “positive.” So if somebody in the team building the mighty Titanic had said something that was not in line with “the unsinkable creation,” that person would most likely have been put down and corrected (or at least sent off to clean the deck until he had learned how to be more positive). Internal communications spend fortunes on rewriting information into a positive tone of voice. Initiatives such as bonus systems and stock values are popular in business because positive information can easily be aligned with payroll.
“There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do”
– Jim Collins, How the Mighty Fall.
Researchers point out that many corporations have a climate of denial. Instead of confronting external threats and making the required decisions to adapt, they simply reorganize and restructure their internal reality. If Nokia, Samsung and Motorola had a team playing defence, they would not have lost their market leader positions to Apple’s iPhone.
In nature there are not any parachute agreements for management
Both in nature and business prey and predator share the same water. Eventually all market leaders will be attacked as a consequence of being in the same market and sharing the same water as their predators. The concept behind developing brands was to protect the original from being copied. For a long time a brand relied on its name and reputation to survive in the market.
Today, however, merely the name will not protect the brand from being attacked. As the nature of business gets harder, the need for defence increases. Market leaders need to defend their products and services with deadly seriousness to keep followers at a healthy distance.
Developing defence skills is a natural part of the shark’s nature and it should be a natural part of any corporation. By changing how we value defence we can plan and educate ourselves long before the attack is carried out.
Part of the above is from my book Sharkonomics.
Fool blogger Stefan Engeseth does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this entry.