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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • September 27, 2007
  • minute read

Watching Microsoft Battle Treadmill 

For organizations in Treadmill, a vital step in recovering Predictable Success is to institutionalize an entrepreneurial, creative, risk-taking culture – diluting the dependence on individual charismatic ‘E’s.

This is a particularly difficult step for founder/owners to take, as it often feels like their very identity is being threatened. As it is also usually achieved by external appointments – recruiting new (often younger) executives to head up divisions, departments teams and groups – the process, if successful, is also accompanied by large, if slow, shifts in the corporate culture (if the culture doesn’t change, the new appointees are usually ‘rejected by the organism’ over time, and the organization remains in Treadmill, or worse, slides down into The Big Rut).

It’s fascinating to watch Microsoft – locked in one of the classic Treadmill / The Big Rut struggles of all time – play this out in real time.

The recent (last 24 months at time of writing) appointment of new managers from organizations such as aQuantive Brian McAndrews, Senior VP, Advertiser and Publisher Solutions), Electronic Arts (Don Mattrick, Senior VP, Interactive Entertainment Business), Ask.com (Steve Berkowitz (Senior VP, Online Services) Groove Networks (Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect) shows that they’re certainly trying to make this happen. Time will tell whether or not they will be successful.

My own view? I think it might be too late for them to succeed – but I sure as heck would never bet against them.


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