I live near Indianapolis, and all the news today is about the release of Peyton Manning from the Colts. Twitter and Facebook posts are filled with opinions and consolations. Most people saw this coming, but to look at the social media pages, you’d think this was a shock to everyone.
In glancing through the posts, I’ve noticed something unexpected, yet very interesting. People seem to be falling into one of two distinct camps on this topic. There are those that think Colt’s owner Jim Irsay is an idiot, and those that think that letting Peyton go (while saddening) was inevitable. As I started to look at who was writing what (and knowing the backstory of many of those people) I started to see a correlation between their own lives and what they were writing.
One of the most notable “Irsay is an idiot” contributors was until recently one of the largest home builders in the city. His comment was “Why would you ever let a proven winner go…?”. Interestingly enough, this man’s company has gone into bankruptcy in the last year and is no longer around. He himself had a “proven winner” in the form of a business model in this city… until the recession hit. Even in the midst of the recession, he was passionately pursuing the largest development of his career. Unfortunately, the world changed around him (in this case the economy). What had always worked so well for him in the past was unable to sustain him in the present. The sad result is that a good man and a good company went under. Many of the other posters would fall into a similar (though less extreme) scenario. ”You don’t let go of a winning approach”. ”You don’t fix what’s not broken”. You see it in their posts and you see it in their lives.
The other camp also fondly remembered and honored the past. But they recognize that the situation has changed and it is time to move forward. The Colts are not the Super Bowl team of a few years ago, they are admittedly in a rebuilding scenario. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to spend all of the team’s salary cap on bringing back a single player that will be rendered ineffective because of the lack of talent surrounding him. Some of the people in this camp have proven to be highly resilient – even successful in spite of life’s circumstances.
In my mind, this is a perfect analogy that reflects many of the companies in our country today. Highly innovative companies are continually rei
nventing themselves and pursuing their goals in bold new ways. Ultra-conservative companies continue to hold onto tradition, and attempt to cost-reduce their way to success. This worked in the 1990′s. But it doesn’t work in 2012. Yes we should honor the past. We should take time to celebrate those that helped us in our past successes. But we cannot afford to stay there as the world changes around us. Innovation is the key to survival. That’s true for the Colts, and that’s true for our businesses.