The idea of a “Burning Platform Mentality” means that you don’t get comfortable, you constantly change, adapt and shed what is no longer useful to you. Not adhering to this single concept likely means digital Darwinism and, eventually, Chapter 7 (e.g. Barnes and Nobel vs. Amazon.com, Blockbuster vs. Redbox and Netflix, etc.). To be fair, it’s very hard to see what’s “going to be up and coming”. But recognizing that that’s where a companies head needs to be is half the battle.
Stephen Elops, Nokia CEO, wrote a memo to his company where he described this mentality:
“There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.
As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.
He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times – his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behaviour.
We too, are standing on a “burning platform,” and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.”