Losing One’s Way

July 22, 2009

Losing One’s Way

  If you read Jim Collins’ new book, How the Mighty Fall, one of the stages of decline is “hubris born of success.” In fact, this is stage one. He says that the once admired lose sight of their vulnerabilities because they are insulated by their successes. “Stage 1 kicks in when people become arrogant, regarding success virtually as an entitlement, and they lose sight of the underlying factors that created success in the first place.”  However, if caught early enough, decline can be dampened. Therefore it was with great interest that I read comments in the WSJ from Yoshimi Inaba,  the new head of North America Toyota.  As most people know, Toyota is suffering in the U.S. market, its largest (U.S. sales fell 38% in the first six months of this year).  The WSJ said that Mr. Inaba said that “…elements of complacency and arrogance infiltrated the company.”  It takes a unique company to admit to mistakes such as these. How many companies worldwide would make these admissions? Mr. Inaba who just arrived to run the NA operation intends to listen carefully to its customers, dealers and market to restore Toyota’s reputation. Sounds like the right start.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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