Yes, paranoia is a mental illness. But, in the context of business, here I’m referring to your ability to anticipate change—to both manage and fuel it. All this in order to sharpen your offensive strength in the market. It forces you to be on the ball at all times. This touch of paranoia could even help you avoid losses and ensure your business’ longevity.

The business world is full of paranoid people

Think I’m the only one who sees it this way? According to Andrew Grove, former Intel CEO, only paranoid people will survive. “Only the Paranoid Survive” was, in fact, the title of his bestseller.

You know all too well that the present is short-lived; sooner or later your business environment will undergo major changes with the emergence of a new trend or the arrival of a new competitor, product, or service—and this will turn everything upside down. If you’re not prepared for this, you could pay the price.

When I consult with upper management, I like to warn them that there is probably, right this moment, a new Steve Jobs in a garage somewhere who is developing a revolutionary product that could make their company obsolete very quickly.

Provoke change instead of suffering through it

Some companies understand that the status quo is not acceptable. A giant such as L’Oréal—which would purchase companies and “L’Oréalize” them according to its own standards—purchased the company NYX, which was operating on a very different model.

The cosmetics giant acquired this company in order to instill NYX’s methods in itself. This technique allowed L’Oréal to think outside the box and fundamentally re-write its strategy. To this end, L’Oréal now “NYXizes” its new acquisitions. This is all changing the paradigm.

Let information rise to the top!

Too often, when I conduct an interview with a company, I can easily find a large number of key elements to improve its competitiveness.

Though it is available at the core of the organization, this information does not systematically rise from the ground up to management. This management, searching for any possible ways to improve, could thus change or enhance its work methods with this internal expertise and positively impact the client experience.

Improve your internal work methods, but also keep an eye on the market; that’s where the danger comes from. Each of your close competitors’ actions must be studied and mapped. All business intelligence collected by all departments within your company must be shared and addressed. Stay vigilant and, yes, a bit paranoid: your success depends on it. Don’t doubt it for a second: someone, somewhere wants your share of the market—I’m sure of it.

How can I be so sure? My clients hire me to snatch market shares from their competitors—and we succeed in doing so thanks to our method.

Instead of fearing the dark side of the Force, as Star Wars fans would say, prepare yourself for battle—or, better yet, give us a call so we can help you pull it off.

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Philippe Jacques

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