Funny thing about a business that’s failed, is people tend to look at the end of the business’ life and say, “They were a great company, but then they forgot what they were all about and they failed.”
Much of the time though, what really happens is they were a great company that worked okay for a while, until the times changed, and business slowly declined until it reached the point of probable no return, and one day the CEO woke up, realized this, and said to himself, “Oh man, the end is near.” The business then engaged in a frantic come-from-behind effort to right the sinking ship, looking for all the world to the rest of the world outside that it’d forgotten who it was… when in fact it was trying to avoid being submerged. Then when it failed, those frantic efforts were deemed the culprit for its failure in the post-mortem conducted by pundits and historians.
But often, what you were seeing was a symptom, rather than a cause.
Imagine if, instead of turning around, Apple Computer had failed after Steve Jobs came back and eliminated most of the company’s product lines in an effort to save the sinking ship that was circling bankruptcy. Today everybody’d be saying, “Jobs came back and launched into those frantic efforts, discarding valuable products, and forgetting what the company was all about. That’s why it failed.”
When you see a company doing inexplicable things, it might not mean its managers and employees forgot who they are and what they stand for. It might just mean the end is near, and they’re doing everything in their power to postpone that end.