A symptom of world wide connectivity is that we are now subject to rapid economic, political or social change like never before. Word moves faster than ever, as does public response and, as a result, the response from the market. For all the focus on the logic of market mechanisms and forces, we should remember a lesser used cliché: market sentiment. For this reason, a company’s success can’t be measured purely in terms of its market dominance. If an organisation’s seniority is to remain sustainable, it needs to be counter balanced with the ability to adapt as needed. Inflexibility, stubbornness and a reticence to move with the times can be fatal. For this reason, we increasingly require our business leaders to be individuals that are highly adept at identifying changing trends and acting accordingly.

In an old but entirely relevant article, Marketing Myopia, Theodore Levitt (Harvard Business Review, 1960) illustrates how blinkered executives can often doom their companies to failure by tying themselves too loyally to a single product or service:

It is hard for people who today confidently hail the twin messiahs of electronics and chemicals to see how things could possible go wrong with these galloping industries. They probably also cannot see how a reasonably sensible businessman could have been as myopic as the famous Boston billionaire who 50 years ago sentenced his heirs to poverty by stipulating that his entire estate be forever invested in electric streetcar securities. His posthumous declaration, “There will always be a demand for efficient urban transportation,” is no consolation to his heirs who sustain life by pumping gasoline at automobile filling stations.”