The above quote by Rob Liano begs discussion… Is Change a monster or is Change and imperative? Why is Change Important in an Organization? Change helps companies keep up with advances in technology and vagaries of the marketplace, so they’ll remain relevant. Any business in today’s fast-moving environment that is looking for the pace of change to slow is likely to be sorely disappointed. In fact, businesses should embrace change. Change is important for any organization because, without change, businesses would likely lose their competitive edge and fail to meet the needs of what most hope to be a growing base of loyal customers. As human beings, we are always striving for more, but we are resistant to change in the way that we would like to achieve everything while keeping our current habits and lifestyle. And, if for a single person changing can be difficult, how about for organizations that have thousands of individuals working for them? It becomes exponentially harder due to the complexity that the change process generates. Is avoiding change the smart thing to do? Here are a few examples of the Giants, who struggled with change and became Failures.
In 1959, Xerox launched the 914 photocopiers and revolutionized the document copying industry. This is something that you maybe already know. What you maybe don’t know is that Xerox also had a fantastic research center. Their inventions include the mouse, the laser printer and a windows icon-based user interface. For years Xerox management did absolutely nothing with their cutting-edge inventions and continued to profit from the 914 photocopiers. Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft, and HP borrowed their technology and made billions.
In 2007 Blackberry had more than half of the market share of phones in the US. But even after the iPhone release in June 2007, Blackberry ignored for a significant period touch screen based technology insisting their phones would remain the defacto standard for enterprises.
In 2007 Nokia was earning more than 50% of all the profits in the mobile phone industry and in 2008, Nokia was said to have one of the most valuable brands in the world. Nokia came up with the first smartphone back in 1996 (11 years before the iPhone) and built a prototype of a touchscreen – internet-enabled phone, at the end of the 90s. Also, Nokia continuously spent enormous amounts of money on research and development. So, where did they fail? Nokia focused mainly on hardware and decided to ignore software and also underestimated how important the transition to smartphones would be. They overestimated the strength of its brand and believed that even if they are late to the smartphone game, they would be able to catch up quickly. Long after the iPhone’s release, in fact, Nokia continued to insist that net 21% of the online advertising market Long after the iPhone’s release, in fact, Nokia continued to insist that its superior hardware designs would win over users.
“Instant photography at the push of a button!”. During the 1960s and 70s, Polaroid was maybe the coolest technology company on earth. They were an innovation machine that launched one must-have product after another. Polaroid grew from being a Garage start-up in 1937 into a billion-dollar company. They failed to realize that digital cameras were going to be the way of the future and once they did it was too late. Polaroid filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
In the 20th century, Kodak was truly one of the world’s powerhouses. Until the 1990s it was regularly rated one of the world’s five most valuable brands. Kodak is Bankrupt. Digital photography took off and Kodak wasn’t ready for it. Was Kodak blind to disruptive changes in the marketplace? And why didn’t Kodak invent Instagram or an app like it?
In 2005, Yahoo-owned 21% of the online advertising market. It was no. 1 among all players. Yet today, they are struggling to maintain their 4th position behind Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Where did they go wrong? Yahoo decided not to be a dominant search player and outsourced their search engine to Microsoft Bing. Also very interesting is that Yahoo had the possibility to buy:
Google in 2002 for $5 billion dollars; Google is now the no. 1 brand in the world, its brand value worth over 245 billion (50 times more). Facebook in 2006 for $1 billion dollars; For some reason, they lowered their offer during negotiations and Mark Zuckerberg backed out. Facebook is now the no. 5 brand in the world, worth over 129 billion.
In Blockbuster’s case, it was streaming service and mail-order movie service that possessed the foresight that Blockbuster lacked. And while its competitors steadily gained market share through the novel and innovative approaches, Blockbuster remained defiantly steadfast in its profound reliance on a brick-and-mortar business.
The Giants who decided to change and became bigger!
One of the most legendary shifts in social media history is the transformation of Odeo into Twitter. Odeo started as a network where people could find and subscribe to podcasts, but the founders feared to continue when iTunes began taking over the podcast niche. They gave two weeks to their employees to come up with new ideas. The company decided to make a drastic change and run with the idea of a status-updating micro-blogging platform.
Starbucks started off in 1971 selling espresso makers and coffee beans. In 1983, they decided to actually brew and sell Starbucks coffee in a European-style coffee house and transformed Starbucks into the worldwide sensation it has become today
Starbucks started off in 1971 selling espresso makers and coffee beans. In 1983, they decided to actually brew and sell Starbucks coffee in a European-style coffee house and transformed Starbucks into the worldwide sensation it has become today.
Suzuki is the automotive company that may be best known today for the high-performance motorcycles and vehicles they produce. But from 1910 to 1935 Michio Suzuki was best known as the inventor and seller of machines that powered Japan’s silk industry.
HP started as an engineering company in 1947. It began by creating electrical testing products, including audio and signal generators. In 1968 they introduced the first large-scale personal computer but it was only in the 90’s when this idea started to pay off. Since then, HP focused mainly on home computers and printing-scanning accessories.
Globalization and the constant innovation of technology result in a continuously evolving business environment and it creates a competitive environment. To maintain a competitive edge in an era of hyper-competition, organizations have to deal with changing technology, processes, policies, laws and regulations and products & services. With so much change, organizations must learn to become comfortable with change. So companies need to adopt a change management process in order to survive and grow.
– Gaurav Singh