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Scott Anthony writes that in order to not merely survive, but to grow, companies and their leaders must come to grips with the fact that the ideas, products, and practices that helped them build their business will not be the same ones that help them thrive and grow in the future.

He writes:

A critical starting point is understanding with precise clarity that what made you great in the past will not necessarily make you great in the future. That the brands that are the lifeblood of today’s business might not be the lifeblood of tomorrow’s business. And, that the business model that provides today’s competitive advantage might not provide tomorrow’s competitive advantage

This is what makes innovation, and sustained success in business, so difficult.  Success carries with it built in inertia.  It creates psychological, economic, and bureaucratic barriers to change–both at the level of the individual and the firm.  The firm essentially becomes a homeostatic system, where change and innovation are extremely difficult and attempts at both are dampened and discouraged by the negative feedback of vested interests and risk aversion that come to dominate a mature system (or firm).

As Anthony notes, this stability may be enough to simply survive, but not thrive, especially when operating in an environment that is changing due to the appearance of new, innovative competitors.

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