A friend of mine – when he was officiating weddings – would sometimes say to the couple (tongue in cheek):
“Today, you give up the right to be your own worst critic”
If you ask people in the street many would say they are their own worst critic. With this they imply they are tougher on themselves and see themselves as less …. [fill in the blank] than the world around would see them. However, when it comes to companies and their products, services and strategies this “your own worst critic” seldom is the case. Many companies and the people working in these companies have created a world around them, sometimes referred to as their “industry recipe”, in which they believe they have a superior position.
Back in the day when I worked and did research in an integrated steel company it was fascinating to talk (interview) people involved. “What do you think about the (then upcoming) minimill?” The answer to this question typically was something along the line of: you can’t ever make quality steel for the automative industry with that type of [insert expletive] steel.
There were one or two exceptions but most lived in the world or industry recipe of the integrated steel mill and in that world they considered themselves industry leader. If you would ask outside this industry recipe – and I did – you would quickly discover they were quite alone in this opinion. This is not only true for established companies – also startups often think like this (we are the no. 1 in this or that).
One of my mentors at the time, Andrew Pettigrew, would say: “Where you sit, determines what you see!”
Vision is very important, but it is also essential to know where you are at: Reality!
So, where are you?