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May 13, 2009

Navel gazing

Have you ever noticed that some companies are often like politics? Your opponents are in front of you, they are obvious and work for other consultancies and sometimes within client companies themselves.

Your enemies, however, are often standing behind you. The people who will go to great lengths to prove they are right, you are wrong, and fight tooth and nail for every inch of influence they can muster.

In these companies a great deal of effort is expended expanding power centers, building alliances, and working against one another - putting influence and small "p" political squabbles over the best interests of the company.

If you think that this is not true then you are extraordinarily sheltered, or it is just very subtle where you work; because it exists almost everywhere.

The real issue here is looking inwards. Looking at what is going on inside the company and comparing yourself to that rather than looking outwards at other industries, companies and sectors.

Inward looking companies are easy to spot. They are the ones that are still investing mega millions in on-premise technologies instead of embracing SaaS and other cost effective solutions.

They are spending a fortune to implement yesterdays great ideas instead of building the foundations for tomorrows successes.

Looking at how they can fit social media into their existing organization instead of realizing that their entire company needed to transform itself if they were going to be able to get the most out of emerging technologies.

For some companies it is a sure sign that they are about to be eclipsed by a competitor that is looking outwards. In other, more resilient industries it is a slide that can continue for years if not decades before the real impact becomes obvious.

But in all cases it is leading the company into a death spiral. Even more so now that technology is transforming the world, and the way we live, faster than anything else has ever changed this planet. ...Ever.