A wise man by the name of Obi Wan Kenobi once said,
“It takes strength to resist the dark side. Only the weak embrace it!”
What’s interesting is that the idea of the “dark side” can be (and has been) applied to the real world of business decision making! For every well-intentioned Luke Skywalker-esque company out there, you’ve also got your Emperor Palpatine types who are more concerned with selfish desires—stifling creativity and long term plans in favor of maximizing current profits. The dark side has been described as a strong, addictive narcotic (at least according to the official Star Wars Wikia) and it’s easy to see why those who get a taste of it become set in their ways.
One such way is the idea of business complacency. This entails being content with your product and how you market it to your audience, only instituting changes when you feel like you’re being forced to by your industry. An unwillingness to adapt and evolve is a true business killer, and you don’t have to look far to see real world examples in companies like Kodak, RIM (inventors of the BlackBerry), and Blockbuster. Consider this: the first digital camera was invented by a Kodak engineer in 1975, but the idea was shelved for years because it was thought that introducing a new medium would jeopardize short term sales of traditional film! Because Kodak kept offering the same product to their customers rather than trying something new, they missed an opportunity to become pioneers in digital film, and ultimately went bankrupt.
What attitudes contribute to complacency? Check out this infographic below from Torben Rick, explaining the dark side of business. These thoughts and statements can affect every business- from small mom and pop operations, to medium sized companies and industry giants. It can be a difficult ordeal to change an entire company’s culture once complacency has set in, which is why the best way to combat this mindset is to prevent it from ever spreading. Plan for the future, make predictions about your customer’s needs, and ask yourself what your business will do if market demands shift. Otherwise, you may find yourself becoming the company that was once successful but now stuck years behind all of the competition in terms of innovation!