Hi, I'm Don Neal and welcome to what I hope you'll find is a fresh approach to how you think about your business, your job and, occasionally, your life. I Iook forward to hearing your questions, ideas and feedback.
Associations have members, politicians have voters, charities have donors, hotels have guests, entertainers have audiences and Netflix has viewers. Call them by any name you like, but they are all customers—an aggregation of individuals who consume your product or service in exchange for some form of currency.
Why would the world’s largest retailer tell us to stop going to one of its 5,300+ retail stores here in the U.S.? Well, for starters, it isn’t technically Walmart telling us to “say goodbye to the store”; jet.com is. But as we all know, Walmart bought jet.com for $3 billion, AND we know that Walmart is looking over its shoulder AND we know that Amazon is closing in fast.
A fter 146 years in operation, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is folding its tent(s), while a new kind of circus, Cirque du Soleil, entertained more than ten million people last year in 130 cities around the world.
So what happened? Creative destruction happened—the incessant product innovation mechanism by which new ideas and processes replace outdated ones. Joseph Schumpeter, who coined this term back in 1942, considered it “the essential fact about capitalism.”
It doesn’t matter if you were just appointed as a new CEO, or if you’ve been in the job five, ten or 20 years. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you’re a CEO or not. Here’s the point: new CEOs and new leaders have a fresh mindset, perspective and mandate. That is, I believe, the most important factor for success.
In the beginning, there are no sacred cows, no baggage, no “third-rail” issues that are off limits, and there is no fear. New CEOs have a clear runway ahead for take-off. When they apply their ambition to their opportunities and put forth a new perspective on their challenges, they get acceleration and lift-off faster than the former CEO who may have been stuck.