(or how to stupidly squander your success after daringly disrupting an existing market)
- THE NEW KID: Disrupt and grow! You enter a new market full of ideas and free from the boring business consensus.
- BELIEVE THE HYPE: You are GREAT and you can ‘Zag’ when everone else is ‘Zigging’… with EVERYTHING you do.
- OLDER, NOT WISER: You’re continually re-inventing the wheel in a quest to remain on the crest of your ‘zag’. This leads to more gradual growth and a reliance on the disrupted market.
- NOT BIG ENOUGH: The market evolves without you really noticing. You don’t try anything too new in case it fails. Your new plan is to simply copy some new disrupt-ors and flog things to your existing market.
- DENIAL: Repeat the mantra that copying is the new disruption… Deny that you ever did anything that good in the first place (particuallry if you weren’t on the board back then). Become as entrenched in your methods and processes as those businesses you disrupted.
- CLIQUEY OBFUSCATION: Become experts in yourselves. Obsess about embedding your ‘culture’ in the company DNA. Proudly create an HR petri dish ready to grow the finest bullshitters, stooges and yes-men to take things forward.
- DOLDRUMS: Consult constantly with every single member of your new team. Slowly and deliberately over-think every situation you come across and make sure you change every decision at least 5 times. Believe you have everything set for spectacular new growth, with the right people, the right culture and an inspiring set of new copied products. You can’t fail, right?
- GONE: Limp on pretending to be relevent. You’re now an encumbent dinosaur in a tired, tepid market. You never got big enough to make a mark beyond your initial success and you’ve squandered the recognition and possibilties that the initial disruption brought you. You’re an expert in a sector that is so irrelevant that no one else even bothers with it.
Perhaps the business will carry on for years… but really it’s just an ego trip for whoever is left with any power. One day it may become a loved and respected tiny specialist firm in a niche so small it can’t be seen by the human eye.
And so goes another promising British business. I hope it’s not you!