What it is: After the fiasco of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung is trying to change their corporate culture.
Here’s the formula for failure. Focus on others.
This formula for failure will work in sports, business, and life in general. If you’re always worried what other people are doing, you’ll always be tempted to take shortcuts and cheat to get ahead.
The real formula for success isn’t to focus and compare yourself to others, but to focus on improving yourself. Now that Samsung has recalled their entire Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, the entire company is stuck trying to figure out what went wrong so they never make the same mistake again.
The big mistake Samsung made was comparing themselves to the iPhone and trying to beat Apple’s iPhone 7 to the market with the Galaxy Note 7. By trying to beat the iPhone 7’s launch date, Samsung rushed the Galaxy Note 7 into production too soon and wound up with their disaster of exploding smartphones.
Here’s what Samsung should do. Focus on making the best products they can without regard to what the competitors are doing. If you make great products, customers will notice and by it. If they really think your products are great, they’ll tell others about it and remain loyal to your products. That’s how Apple mostly works. People can always buy a Windows PC or Android smartphone or tablet, but many don’t because they prefer Apple products instead.
Apple products aren’t always the cheapest or even the most full featured, but they general work and work well.
In comparison, most companies focus on creating a laundry list of technical features to disguise the fact that even they don’t know what their products are good for or what advantage they offer consumers. Samsung once advertised their feature that let you bump phones together to share contact information. Unfortunately, this only worked on certain Samsung phones (which diluted the effect of the feature) and didn’t prove all that practical because not many people found this feature useful.
Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers also love touting the pixel count of their cameras rather than demonstrating the actual quality of the pictures their cameras can take. Pixel count means little of pictures are too dark or too light.
Samsung’s entire culture has been built on copying others and offering features as quickly as possible. Samsung really needs to establish themselves as a brand people trust whether it comes form reliability or features. Then Samsung needs to make sure they tout only features that are actually useful.
For Samsung to change their entire corporate culture will be like a person completely changing their personality overnight. It’s possible, but difficult. Samsung can start by focusing their attention not on their rivals but on their own internal structure for how they design, build, and market their products. Samsung doesn’t have to copy Apple, nor do they even have to beat Apple. All they really need to do is make the best products they can make and that will be more than enough.
If Samsung can make great products, their customers will come to them on their own. If Samsung goes back to worrying about what Apple or another rival might do, then they’ll be forever lost on focusing on the competition while ignoring their own product quality.
Back in 1995, Samsung set fire to a bunch of their defective phones. Today in 2016, Samsung is dealing with a similar problem of defective phones. If Samsung doesn’t change, expect them to deal with another batch defective phones in another decade or two.
Some things never change, and corporate culture is one of them.