The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s the best way to keep your company successful? is written by Ratmir Timashev, CEO of Veeam.
The best way to maintain a company’s success is to always be paranoid. Former Intel CEO Andy Grove explains this perfectly in his book Only the Paranoid Survive. Grove discusses why companies need to be aware of and adapt to what he calls “strategic inflection points,” when changes occur and threaten a company’s existence from competition to emerging technologies. Only those that stay ahead of these changes will be successful.
Despite having a good product and a solid customer base if you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder for the next upcoming technology, you’ll most likely be displaced. For instance, people liked Myspace, but it was quickly beat out by Facebook (FB), which now dominates social networking. Similarly, Google (GOOG) beat Yahoo (YHOO) in search, even though it debuted years later. Being first to market will not guarantee success. You need to stay vigilant. So for me, being paranoid means a few things, especially in the tech industry: continued innovation and dedication with a primary focus on your costumers.
For products, you need to constantly iterate. This means getting products to market quickly and letting customers take them for a test drive. Over-engineering is not innovation and it will slow down time to market. But even the greatest product will fail without aggressive sales and marketing support. You may have created something brilliant, but you need to have the right people who can promote it, bring it to the market, and sell it.
One thing that leaders can be sure of is that change is coming. You don’t necessarily need to know what that change is today, but you do need to always be watching for it. Keep one eye on product development and a finger on the pulse of market needs.