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Chapter 5: Prepare the Organization for Drastic Change


Most companies don't die because they are wrong; most die because they don't commit themselves. They fritter away their momentum and their valuable resources while attempting to make a decision. The greater danger is in standing still.

—ANDY GROVE, cofounder and former CEO, Intel

I submit that all businesses, whether they are bricks origin or clicks origin, are today at a point of choice, such as a strategic inflection point and, depending on their embrace of the two elements.... They'll either write new competitive strategies or they'll be marginalized.


Few individuals have overcome more adversity than the Hungarian Jew Andras Grof. After nearly dying of scarlet fever and barely escaping the Nazis in World War II, he fled to the United States when the Red Army invaded his homeland. He taught himself English and worked his way through college in the United States, graduating from Berkeley.

In the late 1960s, he cofounded a small high-tech company named Intel. In 1997, Time magazine named him Person of the Year for his role in fueling the computer revolution. His personal mantra, "only the paranoid survive," helped him to survive and prosper throughout his career. Ironically, it just might have been Andras Grof's paranoid perspective that gave Andy Grove the foresight that he needed in order to help create an industry.

There is much to be learned from Grove's tumultuous journey toward building what would become the world's largest chipmaker. Along the way, his company confronted several crises of massive proportions. This reinforced and helps to explain his paranoid perspective. He once said, "Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure." During his three-decade-plus career, Grove never had the luxury of complacency.

At least twice during his tenure, Intel faced challenges that could have crippled or destroyed the company. By clearing these hurdles successfully, Grove not only made his organization stronger and more resilient, but also contributed to the body of leadership knowledge, advancing a management construct that showed other managers how to deal with drastic change.

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