Welcome to the sixty-first edition of “In-Touch”. As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please let me know what you think in the comments below.
Story of the Week: "Tomorrow, today will be yesterday..."
A few days ago, during a brief visit to Athens, I enjoyed a thought-provoking conversation with Maria Anargyrou Nikolic (General Manager, Greece & Cyprus at Tria Epsilon, a member of the Coca-Cola HBC Group), during which she expressed a certain dislike of hearing the word ‘historically’ which, she argued, can have a negative impact on efforts to promote innovation and progress within a long-established organization.
It's worth noting that Maria Anargyrou Nikolic is one of those people that others take notice of: In 2013, she was named Businesswoman of the Year for Innovations in Serbia and in 2016 she was recognised as one of the 10 Most Powerful Women in Croatia, an accolade that was subsequently repeated in the Czech Republic (2019) and Greece (2021).
While history can provide important lessons, I think that what Maria meant was that history should never hinder our desire to embrace change and our ability to explore new avenues. The secret is to respect a company’s history and its past achievements, without becoming prisoners of outdated concepts, methods and practices. Every successful business starts by offering something new but, if it is to be sustainable (what better example than Coca-Cola?), it must continue to innovate and differentiate its products/services from those of its competitors. So, in this respect, it should not constantly rely on what it may have done ‘historically’.
Netflix initially sold DVDs by mail but, within a year, had switched its focus to the DVD rental business. If it had relied on how things were done historically, it wouldn’t have introduced its streaming media and video on demand in 2007 and be the world’s biggest subscription-based streaming service today.
While talking with Maria, I was reminded of a well-known saying that we are often taught as children: “Tomorrow, today will be yesterday, and tomorrow will be today.” We need to ensure that our ‘new history’ is a successful as our ‘old history’, which means constantly challenging the status quo and embracing change in order to survive and thrive.
Words of Wisdom
The dreams of the future
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
A Question to Ponder, dear friend.
“Is there a specific word that you prefer to avoid using in business?”
Feel free to let me know in the comments below.