What You Can Learn from Blockbuster's Mistakes

I collect Blockbuster cards. If you have one, please send it to my mailing address: 1631 NE Broadway St. #532, Portland, OR 97232. The reason I collect them is to remind me that no matter how high your bamboo grows, it can always be chopped down. Also, part of my role with clients is to introduce perspectives that might give them pause.

My late grandfather (pictured above) taught me that it is best to learn from others' mistakes. I think we can learn quite a bit from Blockbuster’s fall. At one point, Blockbuster was the envy of the home rental movie business; their bamboo had definitely rocketed 90 feet in 60 days. 

Although there were many factors that caused their demise, there are three key factors that cause seemingly successful organizations or individuals to fail. A clear and conscious understanding of these factors can help you and your organization avoid being tomorrow's Blockbuster.

There are essentially three ways today’s winning individuals and organizations can lose:

1. Complacency.

This is essentially sitting back on your laurels and continuing to do things the same way as they were done before. You or your organization has no continuous improvement.

2. Holding on too long.

If the demand for your product or service is diminishing, you must adjust. If you were in the business of making wagon wheels, as the demand for wagons decreased, it would probably be a good idea to adjust no matter how much you liked making wagon wheels.

3. Ignoring trends in technology in your industry.

You don't have to know everything about technology but it’s a good idea to look for technological opportunities and recognize threats. Did Blockbuster see direct streaming or Netflix on the horizon?

What's happening in your bamboo grove? How are you avoiding becoming a Blockbuster?