As illustrated in the charts below, the list of the world's largest companies by market cap has changed significantly in just the past two decades. Let's analyze the information to see what we can learned and leveraged for a more successful 2020 and beyond.
In the following graph, it's interesting to note that only 1 of the top 5 from 2001 is still in the top 5. If you go back to 1955, the top 10 list includes General Motors, US Steel, Chrysler, Amoco, CBS, Goodyear, Firestone... and NONE of the these companies make even the top 20 list today.
For 2019, let's expand the list to show the top 10, as of June 2019. Note, the order of the top 3 has frequently changed this year with their market cap values being so close in value.
In just the past 3 years, the market values of Microsoft and Amazon have MORE THAN DOUBLED in value.... Wow!
We live in a rapidly changing world, and market-leaders fully leverage change, technology and new opportunities.
THE REASONS FOR FAILURE:
Now let's look at the companies that are no longer on the list, and what causes companies to decline. Why do once thriving companies fall from their market position?
1. The Status Quo: Company leaders get too comfortable with the status quo. Too often company leaders state "this is the way we have always done it at this company". Well, that may be, but eventually someone with a more progressive view will change it. For example, Kodak failed to transform their business to digital in a timely manner, Kodak's market dominance in camera film lulled them into ignoring the market shift. By the time they finally acted, their competitors had captured the new digital market and Kodak was no longer a top contender in the new digital camera/film market.
2. Narrow Perspective: Company leaders often rely on just their fellow company leaders and people in their same market for guidance. While it is comfortable to talk with people that think like you and have the same perspective as you, it is also a risk. You need to a broader view to consider all the factors and fresh new options. Business leaders should engage experts from outside their comfort zone to get a broader view and progressive ideas. If you don't, a competitor will.
3. Failure to rapidly change: Once you determine your plan of action, it must be executed in a timely manner. Often companies talk about change and progressive ideas, but fail to fully execute. Do you have the right "Change Catalysts" on your team?
4. Technology missteps: Technology can be a competitive advantage (look at how Amazon has leveraged it to dominate the retail industry). But Technology can also be a huge risk and have a devastating impact when a company makes critical missteps. Too often companies fail to engage the right technology leadership experts to ensure their technology plans and execution are sound. Particularly in small and mid-market companies, business executives often rely on inexperienced, under-qualified, internal technology guidance, instead of engaging the right, proven technology expert.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Whether you are a market-leading, multi-billion dollar company or a small company, these business principles apply. Currently, market changes and Digital Transformation are reshaping every industry. Your leadership team should be asking:
Engage the right thought leaders, technology experts and change catalysts to help you optimally craft your company's future.
Mark Johnson is the Chief Executive at Xtrii. He is a proven, 10x CIO, renowned, global technology advisor and business leader.