Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It looks like that we are always looking for a situation where we are at ease, where there is no stress, in other words where we can be in our comfort zone. We want to have a break from all the changes and just focus on continuing the status quo.

While it is good to be at peace and to be calm at all times, there is a danger in staying in this comfort zone for too long. If you (and your organization) stay too long in your comfort zone, conformity becomes the standard and complacency kicks in. The daily operations require so much of our time and effort, that we pay less and less attention to what is happening in the market and we loose the contact with our customers.

This is why it is crucial to have some people in your organization who keep you stretched, who make sure that you are on the tip of your toes and don’t miss any major opportunities. These people are not the most loved, because they play that role of the disruptor. They are pulling us out of our comfort zone. That doesn’t make them the most popular kid on the block.

These trailblazers and quartermasters are crucial to stay in business, not only today but also next year. They play a crucial role in staying relevant. More than a year ago, I had a talk with Zappos about entering the European market. They said that they were not focussing on it yet. Now there are some very active local competitors (Zalando, Brandos) which have a similar offering and business model as Zappos. If Zappos now wants to be serious about the European market, it will be much more difficult then 1,5 years ago. Even, this highly innovative and admired company has become complacent in some form.

It is therefore vital to have these ‘scouts’ on board  AND to listen to them.
Who are your scouts?


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