Can a company start in the lower left quadrant? No. But companies can fall there and disappear. If you’re in the upper left quadrant (low strategy, high culture) or lower right (high strategy, low culture), your organization is exposed to unnecessary risk. You’re just a step away from low strategy, low culture.

How does a company wind-up in quadrant 1? An example might be Sears. Sears used to be in quadrant 4 at one time. They were woven into American culture – who remembers using a Sears catalog to make a Christmas list? Has anyone been to the Hancock Tower in downtown Chicago? It used to be the Sears Tower. You don’t get to keep your tower in quadrant 1.

When they didn’t change strategy with the times, they fell to quadrant 2, leaned on their culture, and it worked for a while. When they brought in a venture capitalist as CEO, he didn’t know their culture, and didn’t know he didn’t know it. He focused on strategy, and they moved to quadrant 3.

Ultimately, they fell to quadrant 1.

Who are others that started in another quadrant and fell into the bottom left quadrant?

If you’re not shooting for excellence or the upper right quadrant, you risk falling into the bottom left.

Shoot for leadership excellence.


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