The blessing of impending doom…

All companies do well.  Until they don’t. 

Most companies form around an idea.  That idea solves a problem. And people will pay for that idea.

But time marches on, and problems morph.  That original idea slowly becomes less valuable.  And so does the company.

But this rarely happens overnight.  It is a slow, gradual deterioration.

Usually, companies respond to sagging sales by tightening their belt.  The work harder.  Faster.  All the while, the ground under their very feet is growing less stable.  Their idea is fading.

I’ve seen it over and over.  Companies refuse to change, until they see the hangman’s noose.

Once the noose is in sight, change agents spring to life.  Pending doom makes strategic decisions simple.  Change, or go away.  Issues that once paralyzed an organization are swept away in a desire to stay in business.

If you want to see this idea in cinematic form, watch this YouTube clip.   Danny DeVito plays a character who wants to liquidate a company.  He stands before a hostile shareholder’s meeting, and tells them the cold, hard truth.

We’re dead. We’re just not broke.

And you know the surest way to go broke?  Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes.  Slow but sure.

You know, at one time there must have been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I bet the last company around was the one that made the best (expletive) buggy whip you ever saw.  Now how would you have like to have been a stockholder in that company?

Too many companies wait until pending doom to make big changes. Not allbut far too many.  They drag their feet on big strategic problems until it might be too late.

What a waste.

Now, do me a favor.  Take out two pieces of paper.

On one, sketch how your credit union would be designed if you were starting it from scratch.

On the other, write down a list of things that you’d start doing/stop doing, if pending doom were staring you in the eyes.

Now, look at the things on those sheets of paper.

What in the world are you waiting for?

Anthony Demangone

Anthony Demangone

Anthony Demangone is executive vice president and chief operating officer at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU). Demangone oversees day-to-day operations and manages the association’s education, membership, ... Web: Details