Is Overconfidence Killing Your Company?

I spent some time this weekend preparing for an upcoming speaking engagement. My presentation covers the disruptive nature of Industry 4.0 and how manufacturers must adapt to achieve product leadership. I was researching the impact of disruption on leading companies who failed to adapt to a changing environment.

My research led me to several interesting stories. One consistent theme in these stories was the perils of overconfidence: how many companies dismissed new innovative competitors only to be beaten by them.  These companies failed to adapt, and many of them went out of business.

Just look at the increasing turnover in the Fortune 500 caused by creative destruction. And the collection of infamous quotes from dismissive executives who grossly underestimated new sources of competition. Overconfidence creates blind spots that are easily exploited by nimble upstarts who apply new technology to transform markets.

I also came across this fascinating video story about the changes underway in the fashion business, a notoriously low-tech industry. Automation is now transforming the industry to serve a “fast fashion” market expecting customized customer selections to be mass produced in record times. The business model is moving from make-and-sell to sell-and-make. Overconfident, labor-intensive manufacturers will surely fall victim to transformative, technology-savvy competitors.  

Is overconfidence killing your company? Are your competitors embracing digital transformation while you suffer from corporate inertia? Then it’s time to start rethinking your strategies and disrupt your business before someone does it for you.

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