Attack, Don’t React

In communities, organizations, and business too often we wait until problems happen to react—a defensive, treatment-type of position. But our mode should really be one more of attack—an offensive, inoculation position. Using innovation, creativity, and a break-with mentality, we can solve problems before they ever happen. A proactive approach is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter.

In How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins, he describes a rivalry between two electronic superstores—Best Buy and Circuit City. Collins explains how Best Buy was innovative and creative. They saw changes in the market and too advantage of them. They used a consistent rationale based on their mission to flex and adapt as needed. Circuit City, on the other hand, did not stay focused on their core business. They ventured into fringe electronic products that didn’t pay off in the end and even bought the used car business CarMax.

Circuit City did not revitalize itself around its core business with passion, innovation, and creativity. On November 10, 2008, Circuit City announced that it had filed for bankruptcy. On the other hand, Best Buy continually evolved, modifying their approach with creative improvements and intelligent adaptation. Best Buy is flourishing today as #294 on the 2010 Forbes 2000 List with a market value of over $15 billion.

My point is that Best Buy was proactive and innovative. They went on the offensive to gain market share. They figured out what the customer wanted and then delivered their products and services with passion and intensity. Best Buy stayed true to the principles that made them. With creativity and ingenuity, they inoculated against bankruptcy when their competitor did not.

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