Key learning point: When business conditions change – taking action is important – but taking apropriate action is critical.

  • The strengths that made your company successful provide the inertia that may prevent you from taking appropriate action!
  • Why do good companies fail? — It is not paralysis, but rather the tendency to follow established patterns of behavior —- Active Inertia.
  • The hallmarks of Active Inertia:
    • Blinders – the Strategic frames and assumptions that led to success
    • Routines – The way work gets done
    • Shackles – the relationships that have developed with employees, customers, vendors, suppliers and shareholders
    • Dogmas – the shared beliefs that have become the corporate culture
  • Successful companies can avoid active inertia by asking …
    • “What Hinders Us?” rather than “What Should We Do?”
  • Respect your heritage, but recognize that the old strategic frames, processes, relationships and values need to be recast to meet the new challenges.

Excerpts from: Why Good Companies Go Bad — by Donald N. Sull, Harvard Business Review, July/August, 1999

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