Jim Collins quote on page 96 of How the Mighty Fall (HTMF) says it better than I could hope to:

“When we find ourselves in trouble, when we find ourselves at the cusp of failing, our survival instinct–and our fear–can evoke lurching, reactive behavior absolutely contrary to survival. The very moment when we need to take calm, deliberate action, we run the risk of doing the exact opposite and bringing about the very outcomes we most fear.”

Need I blog more? In each case studied in the book, companies grasped at silver bullets, big game changers, panicky moves, radical change, huge restructuring, bringing in the white knight visionary from outside….

The sad part in all the examples is that the companies were not yet a death’s door. A stumble down perhaps, but the drastic action they grasped at took them to death’s door, worsening the stumble.

Markers that you are in this stage:
–Silver bullets unrelated to your hedgehog or core purpose
–Looking for the Leader as Savior
–Panic and haste
–“Radical Change” and “Revolutionary” Fanfare
–Hyped up expectations
–Erosion of financial strength due to chronic restructuring
–Work is a place to get a paycheck, Vision and values are just PR and can’t be articulated

Net in the mini series is Stage Five: Capitulation to irrelevance or death.