Titanic Syndrome

The Titanic Syndrome is a concept shamelessly and insensitively devised by Dr. Nadya Zhexembayeva. She thinks that the syndrome describes the eerie similarities between the disaster of the reportedly unsinkable Titanic and today's major companies.

The question is why for your own personal gain you would want to use a disaster where more than 1500 lost their lives.

There are several factors that led to the disaster of RMS Titanic in 1912, says Zhexembayeva. The first was that the crew ignored at least six warnings about possible icebergs in the vicinity of the vessel. The second was an over-reliance on past successes. First officer William Murdoch (then 39) had 16 years of maritime experience (he was known for just one example of averting a collision). It was one of the reasons he was chosen to be the first officer. The third factor was that the lookouts did not have binoculars, because these were in a storage cabinet, securely locked up.

The fourth factor is, of course, the iceberg itself. It simply existed and signifies everything a company might find unexpectedly in its path. Blame sneaky competitors, overbearing regulators, bad weather, bad design, late suppliers, lazy customers, those finance-department knuckleheads. It is so easy to blame these sudden obstacles on someone else. Somehow, Zhexembayeva manages to conveniently forget that it was the decision of the captain to sail on at maximum speed in order to appease his wealthy passengers.
Every year, with remarkable consistency, we see companies sailing into an iceberg a crisis. Many of these companies end up getting acquired, declaring bankruptcy or simply never recovering from a downturn. One statistic best illustrates the poor survival rate of the business world’s 'unsinkable titans'': of the 500 companies originally included on the Fortune 500 in 1955, today only 60 survive. That’s a sinking rate of 88%.

The problem, however, is that all of this was known beforehand and Zhexembayeva simply hijacked the issue by inventing a name and becoming famous for it. Zhexembayeva calls herself a Chief Reinvention Officier. That should have been Chief CopyPaste Officer. Only in America.

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