In reading “The Seven ways to Fail Big” by Paul B. Carroll and Chunka Mui it came to my attention that executives need to be extremely thoughtful and judicious when considering growth strategies for their organization. As highlighted in the article, there are many ways in which strategies can fail and fail big. I believe it is imperative for organizations to stay true to their core capabilities while actively monitoring market changes. Additionally, I think it is important to develop processes and procedures that will allow you to adapt to any unexpected changes that may occur in your industry or market. Being proactive and trying to manage the unexpected is a great way to help your organization thrive and remain stable even in volatile markets. Also, when considering acquisition and/or roll ups it is important to fully understand all aspects of the organization and not just its assets.
As stated in the article, many organizations fall prey to partnering or acquiring firms that have complementary strengths. This can become an issue when trying to introduce the new employees to an environment where there are different systems and a different corporate culture. I have seen this first hand at my current organization and the acquisition of another large value added reseller is not going well.
Like stated in the article, the new employees have been resisting many of the changes and some have even quit their jobs all together. My company did not have a defined plan in place to manage this acquisition and as a result there have been a lot of frustrated people. While the acquisition of smaller firms has worked for them in the past, this acquisition has been a real challenge. I believe it is largely due to the size of the company. There has been little to no direction from management and everyone is feeling neglected. My company did not do a good job of understanding this organization and its systems in advance of the acquisition.
To complicate things further, we have been asked to start selling new solutions that do not fit into our core competencies. While this may be a good growth strategy in some cases, our customers have not expressed any interest in these new solutions. Based on the the article, I think the executives of my organization may be overlooking some major red flags. They have been encouraging us to sell new products to existing customers which has not been successful. Also, they have been acquiring a lot of smaller firms in an effort to grow market share which has created a variety of other complications for everyone.
Overall, I think my company should stay true to the core competencies that we have offered for years. Also, a more thorough analysis of future acquisitions should be conducted as well. Lastly, we should have a procedure in place for new employees. This would help alleviate a lot of the frustration they are currently experiencing with the new culture and systems.