Being in the railroad business made most railroads blind to the transportation business. They missed the opportunities to gobble up market share nabbed by trucks and airplanes. Most railroads are gone. Easy to articulate the strategies they coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’ implemented.
Bethlehem Steel was in the steel business. A realization they were in the durable materials business, might have saved them. They’re gone too. Their coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’ strategies are not quite as obvious, but it doesn’t take too much effort to conjure up several.
Borders was in the brick and mortar book-selling business. Soon to be gone forever. What business coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’ they been in? Education? Leisure? E-commerce? Gathering place for intellectual discussion and/or coffee and quiet reflection? What strategies coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’ they implemented? Certainly not selling dead, processed trees with ink blots in a 140 character, electronic world.
“What business are you in?” Peter Drucker’s famous question is as relevant and important as ever. (ironically, AT&T and its recognition of being in the services business was his “poster child” example. Ma Bell had her “good old days” as well.)
Think you’re immune to devasting, company-killing innovation from some unexpected quarter? Think it’s easy to see it coming? Think again…