Poor Leadership Leads to Disaster

“Within the company, there was widespread agreement that customers would always want hard copies of pictures, and key decision makers failed to question this assumption.”

“They favored the comfort of consensus over the discomfort of dissent, which was precisely the opposite of what they should have done.”

“Those who disagreed were quickly marginalized.”

“Instead, leaders fiddled while the company burned.”

Adam Grant, Originals, 2016

MTE1ODA0OTcxNjkyODE5OTgxNo, these quotes do not refer to Creative Memories or even to Kodak. Instead, they refer to Polaroid, a company ruled by Edwin Land, the strong-willed founder who could not see the world outside of his own narrow perspective. Because instant film had succeeded, he felt it always would. Instead instant film drove Polaroid to its demise, as the company ignored the coming wave of digital photography. After all, why earn 38% profit margin on digital product when you can earn 70% on film.

For more about Polaroid, see Chapter 7 on Rethinking Groupthink in Originals by Adam Grant, as well as Sell Stuff and Polaroid, Kodak, and a Complete Disregard of the Patent System.

About Mark Mizen

At Creative Memories, I evaluate photographic products and related materials so that today's memories are not lost to the future and then communicate this information to Creative Memories Consultants and their customers. My interests extend from preservation of traditional photographs to the production of photo books to the expected longevity of electronic image files. My long-term objective is to direct the development of technology that meets consumers needs for high-quality products.
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