Grow and stay hungry
Q: Wasn't it just yesterday that Google was the coolest company on the planet? The New York Times says the online giant is now seen by techies as a lumbering behemoth, and key employees are starting to leave for more nimble companies. Is it possible for an innovator to stay in the lead indefinitely, or is there always a "hungrier" competitor right around the corner? In your experience, do large companies offer the same shot at success, or do workers usually have to break away to seek the greater rewards?
Many years ago, a new and rising star in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MMBTI) training community, I was selected to do a presentation at a type and leadership conference. I decided to use popular movie clips to illustrate the different leadership styles and type preferences at the center of my presentation.
I didn't know it at the time, but a man named Peter Malone was already widely known within the type community as the go-to guy on psychological type and the movies. He was at the conference, and he must have been surprised to see someone else occupying the space that he had carved out for himself.
I, however, was not thinking about that or him. My presentation went quite well -- in fact, there was so much buzz at the conference, that it was standing room only for my presentation. They actually ran out of chairs. The new kid in town, I had really made a splash.
When the next type conference came around, it was with great confidence that I submitted my next movie clip presentation -- my public would really like my new collection of clips and insights. It was with some bruising indignity that I took the news that the conference planners were going with someone else's movie clip proposal. I had had my chance, and now someone else would get to try her hand at the topic. I was the new go-to guy -- why in the world would they select someone else?
While certainly a bummer, this is the way of life. The old gives way to the new, emerging needs and hungry competitors continue to drive forward and time marches on. No one stays on top or out in front forever -- nor should he. It is competition, challenge and perpetual threat -- intellectual or physical -- that keeps us relevant, professionally sharp and a little bit hungry.
So it turns out that Google, recently the hippest, slickest place to work, is now an uncool behemoth. Far from being a tragedy, this is a reassuring sign of life as it should be. We've long known that animals and plants, and people, of course, are born, they live (if they are both smart and lucky they succeed) and then they die. Companies are no different.