Albu On Strategy

Business Killer: Complacency

Business Killer: Complacency

Are you always striving to stay ahead of your competitors? Are you confident you have a strategy that will take you to a higher level, year after year? Or have you let complacency overwhelm your organization?  Whether you have a thriving business experiencing double-digit growth, or struggling to achieve your goals, one thing is certain, you cannot stand still. Complacent companies will most often become vulnerable to an ever changing and challenging business environment, and that is a business killer.

Deploying a strategy that demands performance improvements year after year to eliminate complacency. Consider Jordan Spieth, today one of the top golfers of the PGA because he is always fighting to stay on top.  Professional golfers like Spieth, understand that there is no place for complacency, because someone will always be working hard to take his place.  Like professional golfers that want to stay at the top, businesses can never accept complacency.

Harvey Mackay, author of Swim with the Sharks, stated that “Businesses have to routinely re-make themselves or they will end up on the scrap heap.”  He tells the story about a guy by the name of Howard Johnson.  In 1925, Johnson borrowed $2,000 to buy a drugstore in Massachusetts and chased the idea of making a better tasting ice cream cone.  By 1975, there were a thousand Howard Johnson sit-down restaurants and 500 motor lodges.  But, things got rocky for Johnson with the surge in popularity of fast food, and after years of turmoil, one of the great restaurant franchises in the United States became a roadside casualty.  Today there are fewer than 20 free-standing restaurants left in the chain.  The moral of the story—complacency was unacceptable in 1925 and it is still unacceptable today.

In business, as in sports, having a winning strategy means routinely remake your company or you will find yourself following rather than leading your industry.       

  • Implement a process to challenge your strategy regularly throughout the year. Your competitors and customers do not stand still.
  • Don’t be afraid to make major changes when the situation requires it. Sometimes winning requires bold moves.

How are you meeting the challenge of leading your industry?  What are you doing to avoid complacency?  We would like to hear from you.


Posted in Business Killers, Newsletter, Strategy Development.