“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
—Edmund Burke (1729–1797)
What is more difficult to manage than a struggling young company? Often the answer is a previously successful old company—and the more success a firm has enjoyed in the past, the harder it can be to maintain. The “enemy” at the automobile company in the last chapter was not bad managers, but rather bad management practices that were once the accepted norm and remained well entrenched.
The company merely reflected the mindset of its industry; automobile manufacturing had historically been a product-focused enterprise, and product-focused traditionally meant from an internal—or company—viewpoint.
Industrialist Henry Ford, famous ...