• Peter Attwood

Innovation & The Three Business Operating States

Updated: May 6, 2019

Crisis – in trouble, could go out of business. Steady – steady as she goes, don’t rock the boat. Growth – growing pains due to organic or M&A. Managing the infrastructure & cash flow.

Which of these three states is the most problematic?  Perhaps surprisingly, I believe it’s the Steady state business.  At least businesses in survival have no doubts that changes must be made and urgently made.

My experience that the Steady mode type of business is the most difficult to approach. There is a lack of interest in developing their people and planning. Everything is sweet.

It is only when certain symptoms creep in or a new CEO is appointed that they become more available to review their operation.

Symptoms such as:

• Loss of market share • Stagnant year-on-year growth • Excessive staff turn overA new-start up threatening their brand.

Companies (and people) will act for one of two reasons:

• To gain a benefit

• To avoid a loss

Avoiding a loss being the greater motivator.

Companies in the “Steady as she goes, don’t rock the boat” mode are prisoners of their own thinking patterns and in denial as to the consequences of their inaction. They are at serious risk of start-ups with new innovative ways of doing business (eg Uber, Amazon, etc).

By the time they wake up to the new kid on the block it can be too late (Kodak, Blockbuster Video).

The question is how to encourage such a business to act before it’s too late and the answer to that question in my mind comes down to Leadership.

“The Cost of doing nothing is greater than the cost of doing something.”

John F Kennedy. 35th President of the United States.

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