Are the Mammals Eating Your Eggs?

With the world buzzing about Web 2.0 and software changing in some pretty significant ways, one question that leaders should ask but never do is, “Is my company becoming a dinosaur?”

Maybe it’s because people don’t want to know, or perhaps it’s that life can be pretty good for the last dinosaur as you seem to have the whole swamp to yourself.

Once you stop innovating, you’re stuck in the status quo, and if—really when—the world changes, you’ll be unable to adapt. Your company’s name will be added to the corporate “Where are they now?” file.

As a public service, I’ve compiled a list of signs that your company may not be as nimble and innovative as it needs to be to defeat challenges from upstart competitors.

Your company might be a dinosaur if…

  1. It feels entitled to its market.
  2. It finds $20 million opportunities too small to be worth going after.
  3. It buys innovative, small companies, and then screws them up.
  4. It grows revenue by reducing margins.
  5. Routine decisions must be reviewed by Legal even though it is neither operating under a consent decree nor in a regulated market.
  6. It is slow to adapt to changes in the market.
  7. It is more worried about the internal implications of decisions than their impact on the market.
  8. When considering buying an innovative company or technology, Engineering says, “We can build a better one.”
  9. Growing at the same rate as the S&P 500 is seen as success.
  10. It is afraid to communicate with its customers out of fear about what they’ll say.

While the last dinosaur can go on living for a long time, it’s a very poor long-term business strategy, and probably not what the investors have in mind.

However, take heart in knowing that unlike the real dinosaurs it is never too late to change. If the tired old IBM of the early 1990s can reinvent itself as a successful services company, so can yours.

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