Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Organizations are like Humpty Dumpty: sooner or later they are at risk of a great fall. GM took a great fall when Toyota and Honda came along. They are trying, but it is too soon to tell if they can put GM together again. Blockbuster has taken a great fall—pushed off the wall by Netflix—and probably won’t be able to put the pieces together. Sometimes companies jump off the wall (Lehman Brothers—risk and Enron—dishonesty) and sometimes they slowly slide down the wall to the bottom (newspapers and telephones). All the king’s horses and men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again, and if you wait until it’s too late, you may not be able to put your pieces together again.
Conventional wisdom has been “if it’s not broke, don’t mess with it.” But reality is “if it’s not broke, it will be.” Wise leaders—while working the plan in 2011—are also looking ahead to 2015. Technology will be different. Customer preferences will be different. Demographics will be different. Competition will be different. The question is: Will your organization be different or will you take a great fall? If you are going to be different, now would be a good time to get started.
[By the way, great falls can also happen in your personal health, finances and relationships. Get started in those areas as well!]
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner