A while ago I spent time with the emerging leaders of a significant player in the consumer goods space. The company was, as so many, going through their version of a “digital transformation” and brought me in to talk about the leadership skills required for the new challenges and opportunities companies are facing in these exponential times.
The session went well, we talked about the nature of exponential change, how to make sense of it and what to do about it. However, during the dinner, in an open round, I heard multiple people repeat the same sentence: People will always buy our product. We surely need to think about how we get the product to our consumer, how we evolve our brands – but people will still consume our product.
I am not so sure.
History of full of examples where a disruptor replaced a product (and not just a specific product but a whole product category). Andy Grove, Intel’s co-founder and former CEO, coined the phrase “Only the paranoid will survive.”
We might not like it, and it admittedly is tiring – but I believe the gist of this simple statement to be utterly correct. We can’t rest on our achievements anymore. No time for extended celebrations. It is go, go, go all the time.
The good news? It has never been easier to build empires quite literally overnight.