Overconfidence is a killer. It is not an attractive quality in a person and even less attractive in a company.
So many successful people and companies let their success go to their head. The result is always the same – a fall from grace. In the case of some companies – bankruptcy.
Sony was once synonymous with innovation. The transistor radio, Betamax, the 3.5 inch floppy disc, Mindisc, the Walkman, Playstation, and who can forget, the compact disc (CD).
We also have them to thank for Bluray, but these days they are no longer top dog.
Today’s innovators are Apple, Google and the new kid on the block, Facebook.
IBM back in the 1960s, so dominated the computer industry that business insiders often referred to it as “IBM and the 7 Dwarfs,” as it had 66.3% of the market share with the second closest competitor having 12.1%.
But in the 80s they overlooked the importance of the personal computer and they allowed Microsoft to take over that market and as a result were forced to completely refocus their energies.
In both Sony and IBM’s case, they are still no slouches in the world of business.
Other companies haven’t been as lucky.
Take Kodak, it used to be the only name in photography. It has been around for 131 years and yet today they are struggling to stay afloat.
Just as Sony failed to embrace the MP3 format, allowing the iPod to dominate the market. Kodak failed to embrace the digital format and it has cost them dearly.
When it comes to cameras today I personally think you’ve got to go with either a Canon or a Nikon. Canon pretty much owns the market, but Nikon’s reputation for designing incredible optics (the lenses) preceeds them and keeps them in the hunt.
Sony has a few nice models and Olympus, Fuji and Pentax are still around, but to me there is a big gap between them and the industry leaders.
Will Kodak be able to rise from the ashes? I doubt it, it’s too little too late and I dare say that in the near future they will join the ranks of the deceased.
Sad, but that’s business – only the strong survive.
Then we have other companies that were once thought of as almighty. They were the envy of others, but their success was built more on creative accounting than actual success.
Worldcom, Madoff Investment Securities, Enron, Washington Mutual, Lehman Brothers – all gone. Together, over a trillion dollars.
Despite what people might think success is not a one-time deal. Success, especially financial success, causes us to do things we normally wouldn’t do.
We take bigger risks. We believe we can’t lose.
Success can make us feel invincible.
Just ask Nick Leeson, the famous trader who broke Barings Bank back in 1994, losing $1.6 billion. He thought he could do no wrong, but one mistake led to another and then another, tearing down his company with him.
The thing about success is that we must take advantage of our time in the sun.
Don’t let success lead you to think that you can just coast along.
There will always be competitors out there nipping at our heals. Success breads competition as other companies want a piece of the pie.
Above all, we should never lose sight of our goals. Too many companies let success take them away from their core principles and mission. They believe that success in one area will allow them to succeed in another.
In the past, successful companies could branch out with less fear of failure, but in today’s ultra-competitive world, FOCUS is a key element to success. Why? Because one company can’t do it all. They just can’t keep up with the pace of change when they are trying to cover too wide an area.
In yesterday’s post I talked about Peavey Electronics. They have stuck with what they know, growing slowly and are today a very successful company, but even they almost lost everything trying to manufacture loudspeakers.
We must understand the nature of success if we are to control it.
Stay focused, keep learning, take calculated risks and take things one day at a time.
If you do that you’ll be in good shape.