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What Monty Python Can Teach Us About Strategy

By Sven Larsen (@zemoga) Remember Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Remember the scene where the body collector is trying to force a live person in to his cart? Despite the man’s protests of “I’m not dead yet.”, John Cleese‘s character persists in his task, eventually knocking the man out in order to get him Read more

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By Sven Larsen (@zemoga)

Remember Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Remember the scene where the body collector is trying to force a live person in to his cart? Despite the man’s protests of “I’m not dead yet.”, John Cleese‘s character persists in his task, eventually knocking the man out in order to get him on the cart (**Warning – the video contains some NSFW language at the end**).

Sometimes I feel like we’re guilty of that when we think about business strategy. As technologists and futurists we’re fascinated by the new, by potential, by the next big thing. But sometimes in our rush to that next industry or technology we miss the potential of what’s been left behind.

Yes, the automotive industry in this country is suffering. So is traditional print and broadcast media. Newspapers are bleeding readers. And traditional advertising agencies are hurting too.

But that doesn’t mean all these categories have lost their value. There’s no intrinsic barrier to the US auto industry recovering (let’s face it, Japanese manufacturing recovered from a lot worse than this). Companies like THE NEW YORK TIMES and NBC have decades of brand equity and goodwill that they can leverage across multiple platforms. And traditional ad agencies can change their business models too.

It’s not easy but it’s certainly not impossible. It tkes great leadership, great products and a willingness to step outside the comfort zone. But it can be done. After all, 10 years ago Apple (the company everyone wants to model themselves after these days) was taking cash injections from Microsoft in order to survive.

Great turnarounds like IBM and even Marvel Comics are as All-American as the entrepeneurial success stories that so often capture our imagination. And we need to remember that now more than ever.

Want another example? Check out this link to see how Jeffrey Hayzlett is helping Kodak become one of those “Monty Python” companies we’re talking about.

Is your company on the turnaround path? Are there companies or resources that other’s have written off that you can use to leverage your business?

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