Aristotle once said that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
He could have been talking about business.
While I can’t say that it was ever my ambition, I have been constructing electronic machines for ten years now. During that time I have worked for five companies and built a rainbow of machines. For my hits I have fabricated cellular modules that can be plugged into industrial machines and used to connect to a network. As for my flops, I used to build wireless modems that can be used to remotely connect residential homes.
In hindsight, it should have been obvious from the beginning which businesses would succeed or fail.
Once a long time ago I used to work for a small telecom startup. They were seeking to connect the world by distributing new and yet at the same time vintage wireless modems to the developing world. When I say vintage, I mean that their technology would probably have been modern ten years ago. In full disclosure; I don’t think that is why the company failed. You be amazed with the age of technology that runs your life. The only thing keeping you alive at this moment, the computers running the utility plants are probably decades old. No, it was something else. When I arrived there two years ago, it was plainly clear that nobody really had any idea how to construct the machines. It was also evident that all company knowledge was compartmentalized and only shared verbally. I won’t ever know if this cloak and dagger was intentional or incompetence.
I do know that blindness is lethal! As for any manager reading this, your business will run much better when all your employees are in the know. You also must not forget that building the processes of your enterprise is as important as your product.
But I can’t talk about the calamities without mentioning the hits. Many years ago I also worked for a wireless networking enterprise. I will also withhold their identity for privacy, but I can say that they were in the wireless networking business. It was a pleasure to work for them, their work was seamless. I couldn’t begin a job without retrieving the instructions for installing the test hardware. I was also required to track and scan components prior to shipment. While you might say that is pompous, it forced everyone to do the job right every time.
By now you might suggest that they are successful because they are large, but that is the wrong observation. Triumph is about money, and it’s also about skill. Enterprises win for the same reason athletes do, they are at the top of their game.