Being an innovative company is pretty exhilarating. But so are profits, and if you’re the CEO of a public company you’d better figure out how to balance both – or risk losing your job. A recent Forbes article presents a cautionary tale of harmonizing the two using GE as a case study.
Customers want new features, the latest technology, and the promise of the future. But shareholders want profits right now, and investing in innovation decreases profits in the short term. For business leaders, this presents a paradox that is extremely difficult to resolve. As an example, the author points out that Amazon is in the very space that Sears rightfully should be in – if investors had let them.
The maddeningly elusive solution? Business leaders should take an “ambidextrous” approach and balance building for the future while also “working on today.” That is, pay attention to the needs of both customers and shareholders.