Book Briefs

2017-04-12 06:02

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IN How the Mighty Fall – And Why Some Companies Never Give In author Jim Collins takes the research that made him famous (“What makes great companies great?”) and flips it to ask, “What causes companies to fail?”

Are there common symptoms to be found in the spectacular crashes of yesteryear’s household names and brands? And if so, what are they?

After investigation, Collins concludes that the downward trajectory of most companies can be reduced to five stages of decline, with the first two interestingly taking place while the company is still on the rise.

These stages include hubris (arrogantly believing that any new company undertaking will be successful) to ignoring the evidence that’s screaming for your attention.

I found it interesting that, according to Collins, last-gasp, renegade CEOs, who arrive promising to overhaul the status quo are rarely the answer.

Indeed, companies that preserve what made them famous (while only taking calculated risks) are the ones which most often stick around.

Lastly, Collins demonstrates that it’s possible to escape the first four stages of decline on condition you recognise the problem promptly, for the deeper you go down the abyss of irrelevance, the harder it is to break free from its clutches (the once-great to later-endangered to now-powerhouse Disney is an excellent example of this).

If you’re running a company or plan to, be sure to add this to your required reading list. - Omar Sayed

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