Growth Pathway # 4: Do Nothing

Of course, doing nothing is rarely if ever a pathway to growth. However, it is a choice that companies actually make every day. ‘‘Choice’’ may be an overstatement. Few executives or board members sit down, open their flipcharts, and plan a careful do-nothing strategy. They drift into it by default. When things seem to be going more or less satisfactorily, we all get tempted to keep doing what we are most accustomed to. However, the long-term costs can be disastrous.

Take a couple of well-known historic examples: Montgomery Ward and Kmart. These two retail giants both assumed that past success was a guarantee of future performance. But the world changed around them: Consumers became more demanding both for price and quality, while the supply chain was transformed by globalization. Now the companies are two great symbols of corporate failure.

What does this mean for you? The main lesson is that the do nothing strategy can creep up on you. Take a look at your current business strategy and ask if you are assuming a future that is simply a repetition of the present. Continue to actively ask “What if?” questions and always remember to focus on future demand.

This post is part of a series on considering your options for growth. Read the introduction here. The five pathways to growth are:

  1. Grow Organically
  2. Exit the Market
  3. Be the Low-Cost Provider
  4. Do Nothing
  5. Pursue External Growth


Photo Credit: Fey Ilyas via Compfight cc