At BrightBox, we have noticed that keeping an eye on the big picture is a necessary but not so simple task. Looking out far in advance is not something the average person is used to doing.
Despite those difficulties, you have to try to show some foresight. Most companies (including ours) have periodic assessments of the state of the organization. Public corporations have quarterly meetings and release 10Ks to analyze oncoming trends. The US President gives a State of the Union Address once a year. Even scout troops have periodic meetings to change leadership and have discussions amongst the elders.
The problem with looking out from your own perspective is that you have a somewhat biased view of your of company. Emotion can cause you to make excuses for poor performance numbers, including but not limited to actual profits. Some companies may be better served by a third party analysis.
One wonders if an outside view is something that would assist a company like Google.
GOOGLE’S NEW-SCHOOL APPROACH
Google started in 1996. The brainchild of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google was meant to completely alter internet search forever with advanced new methods of compiling and presenting search results for users. Google was a partner of the former search engine category leader, Yahoo!, early on in its history.
Over time, the company’s culture came to be known as a fluid, flexible, new-school approach to gaining power. While Microsoft, a powerful tech company known for operating system success, played the part of old school boss by muscling out competitors, gobbling up smaller businesses and facing down anti-trust suits while simultaneously encouraging internal competition among high-level executives, Google played the part of the creativity-driven group. Google is known around the world as one of the best companies to work for, a paragon of how businesses should run. Workers were happy, growth was largely organic (even if the company went public by way of IPO) and revenues were record-breaking.
This savvy take on how to run a large American moneymaking group allowed Google to grow at an unprecedented pace and serve as a thorn in the side of many of its competitors. Yahoo! broke off its partnership in 2004 and has since fallen far back in second place when it comes to search engine sites. Microsoft’s Hotmail system has suffered tremendously since Google released its now more popular Gmail. As for blogs, Google has a fairly popular Blogspot system, a group that jockeys with WordPress as the most popular way to start a blog.
GOOGLE’S NEW OLD-SCHOOL APPROACH
Now, Google looks to be headed down the same path that has all but buried many American behemoths. Most recently, Google has been attaching its name in odd fashion to everything it does. Google Labs, Google Trends, Google+… They’re even thinking of changing Blogspot to Google Blogs!
Converging brand names and resources creates a slew of issues for the company to deal with in the future. First, it contributes to the idea that they are a sprawling, growing, swarming beast, which can’t be helpful in its legal and public relations battles. Second, it confuses people regarding the focus of Google and opens the door for another search engine to take its place as number one in the category.
Also, Google is now taking over more and more companies. By turning away from organic growth, Google is playing with fire. Companies that grow on the backs of their creative thinkers are more primed for advancement in this age of decentralizing, flexible power.
Google should focus as hard as it can on regaining its old lightning in a bottle take on the market. Not all companies can bat a thousand, but Google is closer than any other company in the world. Any method that pumps up the engineers in the company is a step closer to security. Furthermore, Google should aim to build up its new projects under divergent names. While Google+ is a nifty new contraption with a good chance at succeeding because of its interface and creative layout, the name suggests it is somehow search-based, placing the company in a marketing quandary.
The diagnosis for Google? Diverge, design and defend market share by doing what you do best. Don’t give people a reason to fall out of love with you.
Just ask Yahoo!