Corporate Culture:: it is better to be wrong and to change


Although the main focus of this article is the American Auto Industry, the examples of failing Corporate culture across sectors are plentiful. Whether resistance to change is borne out of inertia, ignorance, arrogance or any one of many other reasons, IF the environment in which a Corporation exists, has changed and it fails to adapt, all the “tried and tested” means of manipulating financial data to present a “healthy” outward appearance can only mask the truth for so long!

Creative accounting, “innovative marketing” (of re-packaged products and services) or improved gross margins (as a result of technology, reduced costs) can deliver better results but are unsustainable and may do little more delay the inevitable.

Organisations that persist with the hierarchical management structures intended to manage people and, predominantly, linear processes in the Industrial era are inviting disaster.

Why did Blockbuster idly watch Netflix destroy its business? Why did Kodak let digital cameras drive a once-mighty industrial giant into penny-stock territory?

Ask Jeff Stibel, and he’ll tell you: because that’s what troubled companies do. Stibel, once an aspiring cognitive scientist in Brown’s graduate program, is now a serial entrepreneur who has led turnarounds at Web.com and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. “Once the human mind has set out to do something, or has gotten in the habit of doing something,” he told me, changing it is “very hard.” When you add group dynamics, it’s even harder. You don’t need to be a brain scientist, of course, to know that people resist change … and yet, even knowing that, you’d be surprised at how many firms keep driving toward inevitable disaster at top speed.