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Effective Executive Magazine:
Death by Complacency
 
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Historically successful companies often equate past fruitful methods of operation with the certainty of future accomplishment. Complacency, the self-satisfaction with the status quo that provides employees with feelings of quiet pleasure and security, can blind organization members to the unrelenting need for positive change. Because every modern enterprise functions within the dynamic global marketplace, ignoring the need for change can be fatal. Companies often exhibit the same causes for and symptoms of complacency. Organizational revisions that reduce the possibility of company-crippling complacency include the demand for corporate truthtelling, a redoubling of customer-focus, development of strategic “guardrails,” and steps to encourage routine innovation.

   
Without question, every modern enterprise functions within the dynamic global marketplace. Products and services burst onto the scene only to be replaced by newer, more attractive items. Promiscuous customers, encouraged by always-on social media, quickly abandon new products and services in search of something better, or at least that which better meets the approval of online friends. Access to free online knowledge means that your next significant competitor may be a multinational conglomerate or two guys working out of their backyard potting-shed. Fierce competition from overseas and the continued convergence of industries means that, as strategist Gary Hamel notes, “Out there in some garage is an entrepreneur who’s forging a bullet with your company’s name on it. You’ve got one option now—to shoot first. You’ve got to out-innovate the innovators” (Kelley, 2001, p. 3). Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch similarly says, “When the change in the environment is faster than the change inside your company, the end is in sight” (Gray, 2014, p. 71).
 
 
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