Only the fairy story ends “They lived happily ever after.”
Success always obsoletes the very behavior that achieved it. It always creates new realities. It always creates, above all, its own and different problems. It is not easy for the management of a successful company to ask, “What is our business?” Everybody in the company thinks that the answer is so obvious as not to deserve discussion. It is never popular to argue with success, never popular to rock the boat. But the management that does not ask “What is our business?” when the company is successful is, in effect, smug, lazy, and arrogant. It will not be long before success will turn into failure.
The two most successful American industries of the 1920s were anthracite coal mines and railroads. Both believed that God had given them an unshakable monopoly forever. Both believed that the definition of their business was so obvious as to eliminate all need for thought, let alone for action. Neither need have tumbled from its leadership position the anthracite industry into total oblivion had their managements not taken success for granted. Above all: when a management attains the company’s objectives, it should always ask seriously, “What is our business?” This requires self-discipline and responsibility. The alternative is decline.
ACTION POINT: Pick a product or service of your organization. How is the market share computed? What is your share of the market? Broaden your definition of the market (for example, from railroad to transportation). What is your share of the broader market?
- to rock the boat：ボートを揺するために
- anthracite coal mines：炭鉱の無煙炭
- unshakable monopoly：揺るぎない独占
- to eliminate：排除する