Brain Buster

Ruled by Price

Seth Godin had a post today about Becoming the Bus Company, a list of common behaviors that are exhibited by organizations well on the road to trading commodities as opposed to providing a remarkable service. It makes me wonder if all companies that fail to innovate are doomed to walk this path after their glory begins to fade?

It seems like a vicious cycle – as competition gets fierce, customers use online tools or purchasing departments to always get the lowest price. As a result the companies focus on trimming every penny and things start to suffer. In turn, morale slowly fades as everyone gets crushed under the bureaucracy.

Companies like Southwest and Virgin, built around a vision (reminding me that they have their “Why” in order), remain above the fray while everyone else teeters on the verge of bankruptcy.

My big question is: Does anyone have an example of someone that pulled it back from the edge? The only thing I can think of is Apple with the return of Jobs. Even more interesting – has it ever happened from the bottom up, or is this limited to dynamic leaders?

2 replies on “Ruled by Price”

One company I would like to see do that is Amtrak. Their customer service has always taken a back seat to profitability and they could make 2-3 changes to make life better.

It’s hard to see companies who are on the edge or have come back from the edge because you either remember the failure or the success. Few companies live the complete lifecycle. AT&T is probably the closest. Regulated to obscurity then slowly gaining market in a new division. They don’t tick all the marks on Godin’s list but they at least are making the attempt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *