– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

Siemens – Amendment

In his last post, Oliver wrote about some potential strategic problems at the former Siemens mobile phone business.
At the moment I read a book about what great companies do differently (Bailom, Matzler, Tschemernjak: Was Top-Unternehmen anders machen). As it happened, I bumped into a quote from Michael Mirow, head of strategic planning at Siemens for 15 years, when reading in this book on my daily commute from work back home. What he said about the main reasons for the success (or failure) of top-performers illustrates quite nicely what happened (loosely translated from German):
“In my experience, today’s success is one of the greatest threats for a company. It must not happen to a company, that it grows stiff by the success of today and doesn’t agonize about the question what it needs for the success of tomorrow. Based on my experience, I am convinced that ‘tomorrow’ is always different from ‘today’. In order to master ‘tomorrow’ successfully, companies have to do everything to be prepared already today. What I mean with that is that the whole leadership team hast to deal with some radical thoughts here and now. Who can guarantee that the success which is based on today’s products and technologies will really last for ten to twenty years? Unfortunately, especially the very successful business units have missed radical technological changes many a time. They were so exited about the here and now that they always found reasons and excuses not to change anything. However, eventually the market and the requirements had changed and there was no more time to act reasonably.”

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