Perform or Perish as Nokia’s CEO admits: “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost”


In September 2013, NOKIA announced that they had been acquired by Microsoft in a deal valued at $7.17 billion. At the time, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop ended his speech with the following words: “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.”

There is even doubt cast on whether Elop did indeed utter these words, or indeed, if this is the cause of Nokia’s downfall, but there is a big lesson to be learnt here and it’s this – when you do nothing wrong, you can still fail. When you do nothing at all, you can still fail. When you do not keep up with the trend, you can still fail. When you do not innovate, reinvent, and change to suit the times, you can still fail.

As the message from Nokia’s CEO states, if the greatest chariot makers do not consign one part of their factory towards making wheels for automobiles (y’know, just in case this 4-wheeled thingie ever becomes popular), then their names will be memorialised in history books – and not the sorts of books that stand the test of time either.

Marks And Spencers were once known as the ‘respectful middle-aged woman’s shop’. In recent years, tough competition from high street names such as Zara, next, Top Shop and New look has made them reconsider and they now have models that appeal to a younger generation while expanding into credit cards, homeware and free delivery.

It used to be that Vodafone were just a telecoms company. You bought your credit for your mobile phone and you went about your business. Today, they offer home/office broadband and are third party agents to services such as Spotify, Netflix and Sky Sports.

Amazon is perhaps one of the best examples of a company that does not let the moss grow under its feet. Starting as a book-selling platform (or so I thought), you can now buy lingerie, groceries, Amazon-made kindles and watch programmes specifically created for Amazon Prime.

Are you constantly working on staying relevant? Are you working on new innovation ideas for your business? Remember: it’s a tough world out there, so perform or perish

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