In 2013, I wrote a book titled “FLAT ARMY: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.” I recently hummed and hawed about whether I should update it with a second version, or write my third original book. I chose the latter but recent news that Blackberry will no longer be manufacturing mobile phones led me to think about what I wrote about the company in Flat Army.
I thought I would share those words below in their entirety. (Of course, back then the company was still called Research in Motion or RIM for short.)
My last line includes “only time will tell.” Well, time has told us the company has made blunder upon blunder. If it does manage to turn it around–operating solely as a software maker versus a software and hardware maker, entering into a licensing agreement with an Indonesian company to make and distribute Blackberry branded devices–it will be incredibly ironic that the company that switched its name from Research in Motion to Blackberry will no longer be designing and manufacturing the device it changed its name to.
From Flat Army:
“RIM is a perfect example of failing to respond to consumer changes. <Mike> Lazaridis is a genius. But RIM missed so many consumer trends because they were protecting an old business. In the end, they broke their consumer relationship by not innovating.”
To the RIM Senior Management Team:I have lost confidence.While I hide it at work, my passion has been sapped. I know I am not alone — the sentiment is widespread and it includes people within your own teams.
Reach out to all employees asking them on how we can make RIM better. Encourage input from ground-level teams—without repercussions—to seek out honest feedback and really absorb it. We should also address issues surrounding making RIM an enjoyable workplace. Some of our offices feel like Soviet-era government workplaces.
“RIM has chosen to pursue a strategy that eschews the homogenized sameness of competing ecosystems. To help with that task, we have reshaped the executive team and recruited telecommunications industry veterans with proven track records of success.”