Shouldn't almost every company in the consumer electronics or consumer products business be asking this? I see so many companies that just don't get it. The reason they should ask the questions "what would Apple do?" or "what would Google do?" is because there are solid reasons these companies are on top right now. They are good at exploring the chess board and planning several moves ahead, they innovate, they plan, they look at the world through the eyes of their customers and deliver best in class products and results.
I have seen first hand the dysfunction of a companies that get in their own way and stifle success. You probably work at one of these companies. You watch helplessly as products and services are launched with half baked plans and then fail to reach the expectations set by senior management. You work hard to drink the Kool-aid and believe the compromises made due to interdepartmental disputes is healthy for the success of the product. You are brainwashed into thinking it is acceptable to improve the consumer experience over time and upgrades as your company scrambles to fix it's infrastructure and operations after doing the minimum to push the product out. You know deep down inside that what they are doing is the worst thing for the customer but the culture of having to satisfy the internal needs of each department is overwhelming and of course you don't want to be labeled as disruptive because job security matters in this world today.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Now I am not saying that Apple or Google doesn't have problems, of course they do. The point is they are several levels above how most companies operate and they have tremendous leadership with vision. I love to speculate on how a company would change if Steve Jobs or Eric Schmidt ran it. Companies need bright leaders that have full control with a true passion to drive success. Good leaders don't compromise quality for sake of the internal mess. They know their core customer and future customer and deliver to their expectations. They understand that the company they run today should and will look very different in a few years. Imagine where Apple would be if they didn't innovate in the late 90's when Jobs returned. If they just stayed in the computer business and didn't have vision to see what technology was doing to the music business and then harness it with the iPod and iTunes. Imagine if later they decided not to enter the mobile phone business because it wasn't part of their core beginnings. My point here is that most companies, especially technology companies cling to business models much too long in a world where your revenue streams need to evolve and innovate constantly.
CEO's should be pushing their products and services toward a vision of being best in class. There is a reason I own an iPhone and Mac computer vs a Blackberry and PC. They simply provide me with a better experience and more importantly the experience I deserve for my money. I refuse to purchase a product or service that is the result of chipping away at the vision by the lane jockeying of a company's internal fiefdoms. I would rather buy a product that is the result of a non compromise approach toward being the best in class.
Consumers expectations are getting higher and they now have voices that are heard at a level that didn't exist ten years ago. Feedback is instant, brutal, honest in most cases and very public. Shouldn't your company be led by a team that solicits the very best? I for one am very pleased when companies like Apple create far superior products and laugh as the compromising competition try to catch up knowing they have the next moves already planned. Look at what the iPhone did to the industry. Every mobile smart phone manufacturer is trying to emulate and copy it.
So if you are listening CEO's, CMO's and EVP's of companies. Fix it, now.