Thousands of years ago, there was no choice: in order to survive, the humanity had to chase animals. They had to be quick to act, always ready and never scared to take risks. With time, they become farmers. Having what they needed without taking risks, they became lazier and shifted to a more relaxed mindset.
The same pattern applies in life, and in business, where being a farmer brings disadvantages. Jeremy Gutsche (his youtube talks are worth watching), in his book Better and Faster, describes 3 type of “farmer traps“.
The 3 farmer traps a business should not fall into
- Complacency, that means resting on your previous successes. Example: Smith Corona (barcode labels business) declared bankruptcy 3 years after they had pulled out of a deal with the emerging computer market giant Acer, thinking they were too strong to fail. A situation we might be more familiar with is taking a good grade on a subject (school/uni), or passing an exam and relaxing after that, thinking we are good enough and there is no much more we have to learn about the subject;
- Expect the same result from previous actions: Blockbuster is one that failed to adapt to the market, and instead of shifting their business to online rental and streaming, they kept expanding to 9000 locations, refusing to buy Netflix in more than one occasion. After 1 year they declared bankruptcy;
- Being overprotective. Kodak, protecting too much their status and failing due to that.
The hunter instinct, helping the business to grow
Positive traits of a hunter are instead:
- Be insatiable and continuously scan the horizon for the next opportunity. Example: Capital one bank, that – differently from its competitors – invested in innovation and experimentation, increasing their worth;
- Be curious and not repetitive in order to spot new trends;
- Be willing to destroy, abandon your safety net to encounter new opportunities