This week’s focus: The development of London’s airport capacity is a critical political issue for the UK that’s currently making the headlines. The main choices are to improve Heathrow, to improve Gatwick or Stansted, or to start a-fresh and build a completely new hub to the east of the city. That said, generations of politicians have managed to avoid making a decision of any sort on this thorny topic.

Unfortunately, in business, you don’t often have the luxury of doing nothing. So, when should you keep improving your existing business model, making it as great as it can be, and when should you stop and reinvent? The answer lies in your competitive position. If you believe that your existing model can provide ongoing competitive advantages, you should focus on improvement. But if you can’t see any advantages, even with improvement, you should reinvent.

That is the exactly decision the management of Whitbread took 10 years ago when they decided to exit their brewing business (and have subsequently built the Costa business, among others), but which companies including Kodak, Blockbuster and HMV failed to take in time to save the business.

What about you? Should you continue to focus on improving your current model, or should you reinvent and start again?

Off The Record: Anthem by Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang at the break of day

“Start again,” I heard them say

“Don’t dwell on what has passed away.”

© Stuart Cross 2013. All rights reserved.