managemnet company management When a Success Formula Hardens

When a Success Formula Hardens

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When a Success Formula Hardens

Active Inertia

THERE IS danger when success goes to a leader’s head. King Solomon wrote, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” When this happens, they are at risk for what Donald Sull calls in Revival of the Fittest, active inertia. He explains what happens:

Managers get trapped by success, a condition that I call active inertia, or management’s tendency to respond to the most disruptive changes by accelerating activities that succeeded in the past. When the world changes, in other words, they respond with more of what worked before.

Managers often equate inertia with inaction—a passive phenomenon in which organizations change more slowly than their environment or fail to change altogether, like the deer in the headlights. But that rarely happens. A better analogy is a car stuck in a rut: Managers put the petal to the metal—and dig the rut deeper. The word active highlights the reality that market leaders rarely freeze up when faced with change; rather, they escalate tried-and-true methods that prove ineffective in a changed context.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:44 AM

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