Column: The paradox of success


Commentary by Jim Ittenbach

Just because an enterprise is successful does not shield it from the risk of being blind-sided by a sudden shift in consumer demands.

Few industries are escaping upheaval trying to satisfy capricious consumerism fueled by an endless stream of innovation. Exponential market complexity, operating at dizzying speed, is the new ordinary. To survive, organizations must seriously challenge the very essence of their current product and service offering. Regrettably, those awash in the comfort of success often emerge as the most vulnerable! So start focusing on cannibalizing your core business.

Continuous pursuits to reinvent the embedded value drivers within customer relationships are imperative to long-term viability. This is not to imply that breakthrough epiphanies are a necessary for continued existence, though failure to chaperone a persistent stream of product or service improvements will quickly foster customer misalignment with competitive advances.

Conversely, continuously seeking and integrating small advances in the way your organization nurtures and cares for customer relationships can and should become the lifeblood of your future. Doing so will invoke an organizational culture that remains alert and agile to ensuing market and customer shifts as innovations continue to influence consumer behavior.

Developing this type of organizational mindset begins by letting go. Let go of past success to truly embrace the change mandate. Next, organizations must demonstrate a courage to embrace an inevitability: failure is an inherent ingredient in discovery. Setbacks must empower learnings, if true improvable outcomes are to be obtained.

Thinking of what we can potentially do enables ingenuity to dominate activity going forward. The result? Ongoing reinvention will foster transformative outcomes. Begin by imagining the possibilities of developing a disruptive product or service enhancement that would put your organization out of business. Rest assured that, if you don’t, competition will eventually do so.

Oftentimes, your organization must completely overhaul the way it does business by developing an operational innovation that attempts to rewrite the rules of its sector. Think Uber, Kroger online pick-up, Rocket Mortgage, online home-schooling and online insurance. Fortunately, this list is not exhaustive as more and more organizations seek innovative ways to disrupt their antiquated core product delivery.

To begin the process, get emotional. Clearly identify the emotional connections that consumers engage while experiencing your product or service offering. Now, find innovative way to relieve pain points and accentuate pleasure points faster and cheaper. Live long and prosper.