A colleague of mine who’s earned his way to great success said this:
Looking back allows someone to overtake you
While I like the sentiment of always striving forward and not dwelling on what your competitors are doing I didn’t fully buy the sound bite.
Because whether you are looking back at your competitors (assuming your head in all counts) or looking back at history it’s important to look back.
Ask BA did they wish they looked back at RyanAir or Tesco’s at Aldi.
And a historian will say something like…
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana
It’s not enough to be customer obsessed if you are also insular. Good ideas come from everywhere not just your organisation. I’ll predict now Amazon will join that list of companies who fall because they too only look within themselves for the answers.
Yuval Harari said something like…
To harness the future you need to understand how you got here.