Growing out of Business

Since: Jul 13

Hamilton, Canada

#1 Jul 24, 2013
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Each year the editors of 24/7 Wall St. publish a list of 10 brands they believe will disappear within the next 18 months. Although the list is not always spot on, its predictions are as shrewd as they are daring. Some of the names slated for demise before 2014 may surprise you: Barnes & Noble’s (BKS) Nook e-reader, Road & Track magazine, and Olympus (7733:JP), to name three.

How can brands that were once hot growth properties (not to mention media darlings) fall off the face of the earth? Obvious reasons include being outmaneuvered by competitors, getting hit unduly hard by economic events, or missing the boat on innovation, as research performed by my firm has shown. Less well known: cracks in corporate culture that come about as a byproduct of expansion. As an organization prospers, the team must expand along with it, and that’s when the cracks begin to appear.

Culture is an interesting phenomenon in business. It’s powerful—affecting hiring, retention, quality, and myriad other factors—but not something you control. It’s organic but doesn’t always grow in the direction you would hope. And while it’s initially established by the people at the top, culture quickly takes on a life of its own.

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