I read a quote this weekend that stuck with me:
"If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."
~ Jack Welch
Simple but powerful. I’m not sure if I agree about the end being near, but it’s not an ideal position to be in.
Founders should always have a finger on the pulse of their company and be pushing the company to improve. But they should also spend time understanding what’s going on outside the company. What’s happening in the world? What’s happening in their industry? If the company isn’t, at a minimum, keeping pace with the change that’s happening externally, they could become less competitive and ultimately slide into a decline.
There are many cases of companies that had built great businesses but were out of touch with change. One great example is Blackberry. It was the dominant cell phone maker at one point. When Apple introduced the iPhone and the App Store, the landscape changed, and Blackberry didn’t change quickly enough. Blackberry survived, but it’s much smaller than it was when the iPhone was released.