Executive Briefings

You Risk Failure If You Keep on Doing Things the Same Old Successful Way

Among the many factors that have been identified as undermining a firm's success - unstable leadership and project setbacks, for example - there's one that has received remarkably little scrutiny from researchers: success itself.

After all, if success is a product of developing and deploying certain resources and routines that breed better performance, firms may decide that the best way to replicate success is to replicate those practices over and over.

Staying ahead of the competition, however, typically involves tapping new markets, innovating, and flouting traditional modes of thinking - all strategies that, by definition, require breaking free from the status quo.

According to Royal Holloway University of London's Catherine L. Wang and her colleagues, companies can indeed sink into so-called success traps, harming their long-term sustainability by overemphasizing proven methods rather than exploring new ways to do business. The new study found that such companies shrink away from the changing market landscape and get stuck in long periods of inertia.

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After all, if success is a product of developing and deploying certain resources and routines that breed better performance, firms may decide that the best way to replicate success is to replicate those practices over and over.

Staying ahead of the competition, however, typically involves tapping new markets, innovating, and flouting traditional modes of thinking - all strategies that, by definition, require breaking free from the status quo.

According to Royal Holloway University of London's Catherine L. Wang and her colleagues, companies can indeed sink into so-called success traps, harming their long-term sustainability by overemphasizing proven methods rather than exploring new ways to do business. The new study found that such companies shrink away from the changing market landscape and get stuck in long periods of inertia.

Read Full Article