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Why there are no short cuts to Sustainable success

Whilst designing an induction for some new grads it got me thinking about two of the great business stories of the last decade - the rise of Apple to be the most valuable company in the world and the fall of the Banks. And the challenge of getting a group of bright new grads, just starting work to understand that there are no short cuts to Sustainable success.

The story of the re-emergence of Apple as the number one brand in consumer electronics, as the firm who has reinvented how we listen to music, the role of the phone and now how we consume all media is well known and amazing.

The overwhelming impression you get is that they did not take short cuts on how they built their brand, design and technology base.

On the other side, the impression you get of the big banks is that they took every short cut available to get there quick. The current set of charges coming out of the States, just further adds to this flood of info into how parts of the banks behaved.

This is not a difference between long term and short term thinking. Apple is focused on short term performance. Jobs is famous for saying “real artists ship”. No I think it is a mind set difference. The difference of understanding that most of the shortcuts only lead to a temporary lift followed by a bigger dip.

So back to a group of new grads. The challenge for them is to recognise that success is about doing the basics well, about focusing on delivering now and about not taking being tempted by the short cuts. Which would they rather be an Apple or a Bank of America.