Surrendering is Not Losing

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 12 September 2023

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Surrendering is Not Losing: A Strategic Perspective

In the world of business and strategic consulting, the concept of surrendering often carries a negative connotation. It's seen as a sign of weakness, defeat, or a lack of determination. However, a deeper examination reveals that surrendering can be a strategic move, a calculated decision that leads to success rather than failure.

Surrendering in the business context doesn't mean giving up on your goals or admitting defeat. Instead, it involves a careful evaluation of your current situation, resources, and objectives. It's about recognizing when to let go of a particular strategy, project, or mindset that is no longer serving your long-term interests.

One of the key principles in strategic consulting is adaptability. The business landscape is constantly evolving, and what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Surrendering, in this sense, is the ability to pivot, shift your focus, and reallocate resources to areas that promise a higher return on investment and market acceptance.

Consider Kodak which invented and manufactured camera film for decades. With the rise of digital cameras and smartphones equipped with high-quality cameras, their market share tanked. Surrendering, in this case, meant acknowledging that the traditional film and camera market was over and deciding to invest in new technology or services, such as motion picture film production, materials, and chemicals. By surrendering the old model, the company can adapt to the changing market and continue to thrive.

Furthermore, surrendering can also apply to interpersonal dynamics within an organization. Leaders often encounter resistance to change, and they may perceive surrendering to employee feedback or dissenting opinions as a loss of authority. However, surrendering to constructive criticism and diverse viewpoints can lead to better decision-making and a more engaged workforce.

Moreover, surrendering can be a powerful tool in negotiations and partnerships. It doesn't always mean giving in completely but can involve making concessions to build trust and create mutually beneficial outcomes. In strategic consulting, it's often emphasized that a win-win situation is more sustainable in the long run than a win-lose scenario.

Here are a few real company examples where surrendering certain strategies or aspects of their business helped them ultimately win in the long run:

  1. Netflix: In its early years, Netflix was primarily a DVD rental-by-mail service. However, with the rise of digital streaming and the decline of physical media, they realized they needed to pivot. Netflix surrendered its DVD business and focused on streaming content. This strategic shift not only saved the company but turned it into one of the world's leading streaming platforms.
  2. IBM: In the early 2000s, IBM recognized that its traditional hardware business was declining in profitability. Instead of clinging to it, they surrendered their PC and server hardware businesses, focusing on high-margin software and services. This move transformed IBM into a leading technology and consulting services company with a focus on @eBusiness.
  3. Adobe Systems: Adobe was a pioneer in desktop software for design and creative professionals. However, as the software industry shifted towards subscription-based models and cloud services, Adobe recognized the need to surrender its traditional software sales model. They successfully transitioned to Adobe Creative Cloud, a subscription-based service, which ensured a steady stream of revenue and long-term customer relationships.
  4. Starbucks: In 2008, during the global financial crisis, Starbucks faced declining sales and overexpansion. To win back customers and regain profitability, Starbucks surrendered its growth-at-all-costs strategy, closing hundreds of underperforming stores and reevaluating its menu. This strategic move helped them refocus on core markets and maintain their brand's value.

In each of these cases, surrendering certain aspects of their business or adapting to changing market conditions allowed these companies to not only survive but thrive in the long term. These strategic decisions were made with a forward-looking perspective, recognizing that clinging to the past would have resulted in greater losses. Surrendering can indeed be a path to winning in the ever-evolving world of business.

It is all about having an “Embracing Change” mindset.

Surrendering can also be a way to manage risk. In investment and financial planning, for instance, knowing when to cut your losses is a crucial skill. Holding onto a failing investment out of pride or fear of admitting defeat can lead to significant financial losses. Surrendering, in this context, means having the discipline to exit an investment when it no longer aligns with your financial goals.

To conclude, surrendering is not synonymous with losing in the world of business and strategic consulting. Instead, it's a strategic maneuver that requires foresight, adaptability, and the willingness to reassess your goals and strategies. It's about recognizing when the old ways no longer serve your best interests and having the courage to explore new opportunities. Surrendering can lead to growth, innovation, and ultimately, long-term success. So, the next time you face a situation where surrendering seems like the only option, remember that it might just be the strategic move that propels you forward.

About Inward

Inward Strategic Consulting is a 26-year-old management/creative consulting firm that helps clients achieve high performance by developing comprehensive business strategies and cultures aligned with their goals, processes, and resources. They specialize in internal/external branding strategies, change management, brand purpose, and market research. They offer proprietary methodologies such as Visioneering, Inward Marketing, Dialogue Marketing, Best Practice and Benchmarking, and Qualitative and Quantitative Market Research. They have worked with Fortune 100 companies including Walmart, McDonald's, Aetna, City of Hope, and many others.

Allan Steinmetz CEO