What Can Explain Why Some Organizations Make the Changes They Need to Make When They Need to Make Them?

During a class discussion years ago, a student who is a successful executive offered this predictive principle for which examples abound:  The rate of innovation in an organization is inversely related to the length and level of their success. The company which has enjoyed decades of dominance in a market is more likely to become complacent and fail to continuously innovate when needed.

Maintenance of the status quo becomes the priority and continued success is assumed. Complacency, arrogance, and a false belief that perpetual victory is assured thwarts necessary change and positive progress. In some cases, it either produces significant underperformance or extinction.

It seems to universally apply across organizations in all three sectors (public, private, non-profit). In the 21st century where innovation must be the constant for survival, this discussion becomes critical.

Bigger may not be better. Longer success may mean a greater probability to fail. So why do organizations innovate or fail to do so? Once again, leadership and culture govern.


From the Teacher: Leadership Lessons with Dr. Saviak is a weekly column with the esteemed Joseph C. Saviak, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., M.S., Management Consulting & Leadership Training.


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