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From October 10 2014:

Humans seem to have an in-built belief that the status quo will continue into the future. As a result, we pay little heed to upcoming dangers and risks. In current affairs, for instance, the growth of both Ebola and ISIL are quickly escalating from a crisis to a catastrophe, and it is only when a catastrophe is imminent or upon us that we seem to act.

In business, the same patterns exist. The major UK grocers of Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s have been losing share to discounters such as Aldi and Lidl for several years, but they are only taking real, strategic action now that the share loss has turned from a steady flow to a torrent. Elsewhere, Nokia’s management decided too late that it needed to respond to new competition from Apple, Samsung and lower priced Chinese manufacturers, and saw its market share fall from over 40% to less than 5% within four years!

Andy Grove of Intel once said that only the paranoid survive. How are you maintaining a healthy level of paranoia in your business so that you are able to anticipate and respond to new market threats and opportunities faster than your competitors?

© Stuart Cross 2014. All rights reserved.