Complacency is a slow death

Next week I’m going to Helsinki, Finland to take another deep dive into the story behind Nokia. On the 17th April 2008, barely a year after the iPhone’s launch, the Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo famously declared: “From a competition perspective, iPhone is nothing but a niche product.”
Looking back now, almost five years later, the questions are lining up: What went wrong with Nokia? In late 2007 the company had more than 40% market share globally. Today it has 5%. Where did the extreme arrogance and disrespect for competitors come from? How could the same people that made Nokia so successful also be the reason for its gigantic failure?
Nokia teaches us an important lesson about complacency: It makes you blind. People who are complacent usually don’t realize it themselves. They say: “Yes, we have our problems, but they aren’t that terrible and I’m doing my job just fine”. Or they go into denial like Nokia trying to rationalize their lack of urgency.
How urgent is your organization? Do your people believe that status quo is unacceptable? Are they facing the facts or do they deny reality? What specific actions are you taking to avoid complacency?

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