There is the old saying that, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But Harvard Business School (“HBS”) professors Francesca Gino and Gary P. Pisano rightly point out in their article, Why Leaders Don’t Learn From Success, that successful businesses often appear not to be broken, only to find out that they are when it is too late.
When things are going well with your business, you often let your guard down. You think that things are going well because you are doing something right. But the HBS professors explain in their article that your success may be due to factors including fortuitous market conditions or beginner’s luck, as was the case with the rookie Ducati Corse racing team who won third place in the Grand Prix in 2003. You don’t question your strategy as much when things are going well. The Ducati team changed the design of their racing bike thinking it would improve performance in 2004, but the hasty changes left them in third place. It was only then that they realized the errors of their ways. Like with others, the authors write, the team learned only went things bad. The problem is that when things go bad, it may be too late. Another competitor may have already wooed your major client away. In short, its good to take the time to learn from your successes rather than waiting for a crushing defeat to wake up from what you realize was a slumbering false sense of security.