This week’s focus: Nothing fails like success – and pride is often at the heart of such failure. A few years ago, for example, I met some middle managers at Nokia’s UK head office. The first generation of Apple’s iPhone had just been launched and I was bewildered at these managers’ attitude towards this ground-breaking product. Instead of agreeing that it had completely changed the rules and raised the bar in the smartphone market, they argued that it was a tiny niche product and would be swamped by Nokia’s huge range of phones and market power.

It is evident that such misplaced pride was endemic across Nokia. The iPhone, Google’s Android handsets and new cheaper brands have all eaten into Nokia’s share and profits and even new CEO, Stephen Elop, has so far been unable to halt the company’s slide which saw its debt rated as just above junk status earlier this week.

In business paranoia is preferable to pride. Which areas of your business give you a sense of pride when you’d be better feeling paranoid?

Off the record: Paranoid by Black Sabbath

Happiness I cannot feel, and love to me is so unreal

And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state

I tell you to enjoy life

I wish I could, but it’s too late

© Stuart Cross 2012. All rights reserved.