Admit it. You looked at that title and said to yourself “Yeah, sure, no way that’s happening!” Because it is natural for us to fall back on what is comfortable and known rather than jumping into the ocean and then figuring out where we are going while we’re trying not to drown. Taking risks is an anathema to most of us who prefer the safety of our comfort zone to an ocean plunge. Consider this; do you think that your company will reinvent itself magically overnight without a blueprint and plan for execution? Without committed individuals and resources? Yeah sure, no way that’s happening! Right?
The fact is that company reinvention is ongoing for those firms committed to stretching beyond their current operating model. It doesn’t matter your size or whether you are public or private. This is about a conscious decision to determine who you want to be to your customers, partners, suppliers and anyone who has a stake in your future. It’s about seizing an opportunity in a market that is ripe for disruption (ex: automotive) and getting there with an innovative solution that goes above and beyond what is currently available to the market. Here are some examples to consider:
Apple Computers: still think Apple should have “Computers” after their name? I don’t. They’ve gone from being a hardware company to a communications company to an information/lifestyle company that goes with you everywhere you go. Why? They are about to introduce the Apple Watch that will connect you through iCloud to everything you need from messaging to the weather to your heartbeat. Not to mention their move into the automotive sector following the path of Google and the driverless car. Whether or not they succeed isn’t the point. They are redefining an industry that has taken too long to adopt technology and other resources to redefine the driving experience. Sure Uber and Lyft are ‘driving’ the sharing economy and helping us to rethink car ownership. But what Apple and Google are doing go beyond a sharing economy. They want to redefine themselves again and as a result, re-architect how we get from point A to point B using technology and information. Don’t bet against them.
Verizon – when was the last time you thought of Verizon as a phone company? That long ago eh? A few years back, it was appropriate to think of them as a broadband provider of phone and Internet services. Now, they seem more like a streaming information and entertainment company who will be pushed by Netflix, Amazon and others who are redefining how and when we watch TV. Landlines are going the way of the dinosaur and soon wireless will be undergoing a metamorphosis. It has to because the marketplace will demand it. It won’t be long before Verizon has to think about their next iteration of who they want to be and what markets they want to serve.
Amazon: speaking of the bookseller (whoops, I mean online commerce, hmm, maybe entertainment), okay you get the point. Amazon isn’t about books. They’ve redefined who they are and in the process, are redefining how we access everything from watches to video. And you can now do it through Fire, their new phone. You didn’t think phones for making calls did you? ☺
This is a small list and there are many of you out there saying, “Well, they are the exception, not the rule”. Not true. Whether you are an emerging business or a Fortune 1000, you have to be considering TODAY who you are going to be TOMORROW in the next evolution of your business. Failure to do so will most certainly leave you on the platform while the reinvention express heads off in search of new territory. And then you’ll be left trying to answer the following questions I overheard being asked by one executive to another while on my way to my gym workout:
“Who are we really?” “Do our customers know who we are?”
Stefan Pagacik is the founder and principal of IntrapreneurAdvisor and a big proponent of reinvention as part of his “Vision into Action” program for companies seeking greater valuations and market leadership. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @StefanIACorp.