Myth 1: Continual reinvention

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Many of the articles, comments and conferences about strategy-related issues seem to perpetuate some damaging myths – so I thought it might be useful to develop a list of these as I come across them.

This one comes up all over the place – the idea that successful strategy requires constant ‘re-invention’ of the business model. Even sober journals like the Economist ooze over this fallacy, as they did when reviewing the 10-year anniversary of e-commerce in 2005. Ebay, Amazon, Google, Expedia and the rest are successful, it is claimed, because they constantly reinvent themselves.

In fact, if you think about the successful firms we most admire – those above, plus Toyota, CNN, Dell, Southwest Airlines, Walmart etc. etc. etc. – the one thing that stands out is that they

    do not

keep changing their mind about what they offer, to whom and how. What they do is relentlessly improve, refine and extend what already works well.

Far more boring than constant reinvention of course – but it works!

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