It (almost) always happens this way

I had breakfast today with a really smart person who works for a really big company (that’s just about all he’ll let me say). He’s frustrated because they’re fading, and fast. The ironic thing is that if they focused their energy and their guts on the new market that is gaining on them (fast), they’d demolish it. If they embraced the threat, the threat wouldn’t have a chance.

Instead, like a million organizations before them, defending the status quo is far more politically correct than change. So they stand back and let dinky startups with no natural advantages run like crazy.

The guys in the blue curve, the new guys, would dearly love the assets and reputation that the green curve guys have. They don’t have it, though, so they improvise. They lean into the market. They give customers what they want, and embrace technology and new ideas because they have no other choice. The green curve, on the other hand, is filled with people who feel helpless. They feel like the organization is aligned against them, aligned to fail, all because the status quo is so powerful.

And yes, most of the time, it is the blue curve, the new guys, the ones playing by new rules with nothing to lose, that wins.

But sometimes, just often enough to give the dinosaurs a shred of hope, someone (not often the CEO) stands up and says, "follow me!" And the organization does.