Is your career facing a Kodak moment?


No doubt the business school case studies in years to come about the sad demise of Kodak and it's brand will raise many questions about the effectiveness of it's leaders. 

The filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by Kodak this week has many lessons for all businesses, but what can you learn from this and be sure that you are not facing the same in your career?

1. Don't underestimate the impact your ideas have. 

It was the mid-70's when Kodak actually developed for the first digital camera. Can you imagine how far ahead they may have been in the market place and for how long had they moved on this revolutionary idea. 

Personal Brand Lesson - just because your industry or vocation has done it the same way for a long time and everyone is comfortable with that way does not mean an idea out of left field is not a better one. Be willing to challenge the status quo. 

2. Don't be complacent or greedy

Kodak leaders decided to shelve the digital camera because they felt it was going to do too much damage to their highly lucrative and profitable film business. 

Personal Brand Lesson - it makes sense to maximise your value with the core strengths you have. But know that you need to continually develop yourself and add new skills. Demands and markets change, so your brand has to evolve over time. Anticipate demands and start adding to your skill set now. 

3. Be Prepared to Re-brand

The plan for Kodak is to sell it's $2 billion worth of patents and emerge as a more agile company in the printer business. They see revenue and profit in ink (HP generates $9 billion a year in ink cartridges). But does the tagline of the "Kodak Moment" still apply? Likely not, as they become less and less synonymous with photos a re-brand of the company would almost seem inevitable. 

Personal Brand Lesson - the experts tell us that the workforce of the future might well be in many different vocation, not just jobs, in their lifetime. The foundation and core of your brand might remain the same, but sometimes the message and your target audience will change and a re-branding is necessary. 

How do you see business the lessons from the likes of RIM and Kodak apply to your career and personal brand? 



2 thoughts on “Is your career facing a Kodak moment?”

  1. I think the appropriate term is “Cognitive Dissonance” when it comes to the mistakes made by Kodak. They likely knew what needed to be done but did not feel motivated or willing to push the behemoth of a business in a new direction.
    I can completely understand this, and at the same time your points lead one to think of how it could be different. Somehow we need to become “Comfortable with Uncertainty” as the popular book by Pema Chodron says.
    Great thoughts as always Paul.

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