I recently shared an interesting article by Robert Sher for the Harvard Business Review called Tinkering with Strategy Can Derail Midsize Companies. The article is an interesting look at business strategy changes in midsized companies. He takes two examples one positive and one negative and illustrates how mid-sized companies, especially ones that have a successful and proven business model can either benefit from or be derailed by changes to their core strategy. It is a lively and informative read I encourage everyone to click the above link and check it out.
Sher makes some good points but I think his examples are flawed in that the nature of change each tried to implement were so vastly different it is obvious why one succeeded and the other failed. In any business change implemented from examining the most successful attributes of the company has a better chance of succeeding then adding a new untested product range simply because it is in the same wheelhouse as the company’s core strength. I would have liked to see positives and negatives in a more controlled study. Take the same scenario and show me and instance of success and of failure from the same scenario.
Medium sized companies tend to do some things better than their larger counterparts. According to this article on the Forbes website change is what mid-sized companies do best with 35% of mid-sized companies are actively evolving their business model and an additional 35% say that they are preparing to roll out entirely new product lines. That is a huge number and a drastic level of change being enacted. It cannot be that all of these new product lines will be a major success, although it cannot be that they will all fail either.
It seems that it is not the type of change that a company initiates that is the issue rather; it is the method in which change is enacted. If you head blindly down a new path simply because it feels right you are doomed to reap the repercussions of your actions. On the other hand with careful planning and a measured approach success is far more likely to be at the end of the road. The view getting there should be pretty good too.