Why many firms are at risk of sliding and failing


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016

Sweetman: ‘Many companies also dismiss their competitors’ successes by refusing to accept a competitor’s success as valid and downplaying a competitor’s strategy and product innovations.’

PETALING JAYA: Many companies, even well-established ones, are at risk of sliding into irrelevance and failure because they do not reinvent themselves continuously.

This was the key message of former Harvard Business Review editor Kate Sweetman, who said companies today were vulnerable to “six blindfolds” and risk losing out to competition.

Sweetman said many established companies became too arrogant and end up either being replaced or overtaken by their competition, adding that many firms refused to believe that any problems existed.

“This means being either completely blind to organisational or individual problems or dismissing them to protect oneself and or the company,” Sweetman said at Menara Star during a learning session organised by leadership development firm Leaderonomics.

“Many also dismiss their competitors’ successes by refusing to accept a competitor’s success as valid and downplaying a competitor’s strategy and product innovations.”

This, she said, was usually because of companies’ own past successes.

Another blindfold, Sweetman said, was that companies refused to acknowledge negative feedback.

“This refers to the inability to hear anything negative about a project, the company, or yourself and to confront the brutal facts as they will get in the way of agendas, deadlines and commitments,” she said.

She also said plenty of companies had the inability to transfer learning, knowledge, ideas and information across boundaries in ways that resulted in the ability to take action.

The sixth blindfold, said Sweetman, was that companies often thought they knew what’s best for their customers.

“This refers to an inability to have empathy for customer frustration and needs and a lack of inquisitiveness to find out ways to perfectly align to customers’ current and future needs.”

To avoid the blindfolds or rather, pitfalls, Sweetman emphasised that a mindset shift was imperative.

The learning session, themed “Reinvention: Accelerating Results In The Age of Disruption,” also featured a panel discussion that comprised Sweetman, Connecting the Dots Consultancy chief executive officer Bharat Avalani, Selfdrvn founder and chief executive officer Lam Mun Choong, Valiram Group global chief operating officer Ashwin Rajgopal and Uber Malaysia general manager Leon Foong.

The panel discussion was moderated by Leaderonomics chief executive officer Roshan Thiran.

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