Temptations of Successful Organizations – Part 2
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Last week we looked at three of the five temptations of Successful Organizations. Before diving into the last two and the solutions, I want to remind everyone that these temptations stem from success. Now don’t get me wrong, I love success. I want all of us to be successful, but success can be a killer. Just ask Research in Motion, the company that brought us the Blackberry. In 2010, Blackberry owned 43% of the smartphone market, and in 2011 had 85 million subscribers worldwide. They stopped producing smartphones in 2016. Similar to the Kodak example from last week, success killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Let’s jump into the last two temptations.

4) They Stop Holding Each Other Accountable – Success lulls us into a false sense of security. Missed deadlines or poor workmanship get overlooked and excused. What’s the big deal? We’re making money, and isn’t that the goal? What do you mean a customer called and has a problem with our design? Don’t they know that we hold 43% of the market share? In 1962, General Motors had 50.7 % of the US auto market. That number dropped to 17.1 % in 2022.

5) They Stop Doing the Basic – You have heard it said shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations. Quite simply, the first generation rolled up its sleeves and worked hard to grow the business. The second generation saw the efforts put forth by the first generation and continued some meaningful success as faithful stewards. By the third generation, the basic fundamentals of hard work and focused efforts were forgotten. The “old” ways seemed outdated and old-fashioned, resulting in a decline in the business. If anything was left, the fourth generation needs to roll up their sleeves and start building again.

So how do we fight off the five temptations? Turn them into the five Characteristics of a Successful Organization. 1) Focus on Growth. Not sales, growth – personal growth. Establish growth plans for each employee. You read that correctly, each employee needs a growth plan. As our staff grows, we are ready to move forward to number 2) Keep Stretching. Try things that you have never tried. Step out of your comfort zone and embrace the opportunities around you. 3) Don’t Let Intensity Replace Consistency. Intensity is very short-lived, but consistency compounds. 4) Commit to Action and Track It. Balanced Scorecards, the Four Disciplines of Execution with its leading and lagging indicators. Pick which tools work best and stick to them. Lastly, 5) Prioritize the Basics of Commitment and Hard work. Remember the past and use it as the foundation to build an exciting and new tomorrow.