How to survive in the 21st Century – Think the Unthinkable

Feb 05, 2020

As we go through the inevitable sad recital of the results from once great companies who have, once again failed to meet the expectations of their shareholders, it really is time that we started to think differently about change. The high street retailers and the shopping malls seem to be in a constant state of surprise that their customers prefer to buy on-line and you can hear the hope in their voices that the customers may see the light and decide to come back again….


Why is it so hard to accept that the world has changed and to start doing business in the real world? Your business has not earned a right to survive from its past performance.  It has to re-earn it every day.


Companies cannot rely on history – the fact that Marks and Spencer was once a great British Institution and British Airways was once the National Flag Carrier is irrelevant to their current and potential customers.  Nobody remembers and nobody cares.  Stop trying to recreate the past and start creating the future.  Disrupt yourself before someone disrupts you. 


To do this requires really radical thinking – the sort of thing that boards and management teams are really bad at.  How often do you sit down and thing the unthinkable?

I’ll give you a couple of examples of what I mean by that:

  • Marks and Spencer – give up clothing and just do food, that’s what you’re good at. Forget your history – nobody cares.
  • Department stores: the High Street is dead and it’s not coming back – your customers are on-line.  Forget the past – nobody cares – how do you leverage the new digital world?


Fight tomorrow’s war, not yesterdays.




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