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Cliff Is Averted!

No – I don’t mean the “Fiscal Cliff” that the politicians and media created and built into The Top Story On Every American’s Mind last month.

I mean the cliff that failing companies fall off when they move from Stage 3 to Stage 4 of Failure, as explained by Jim Collins in his book, “How The Mighty Fall.”

I’m talking here about one company in particular: GKIC (formerly “Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle”).

Yes, that’s the local Chicago corporation whose troubles we’ve been following here over the past couple of months. It’s been a lively discussion, with some thoughtful and constructive comments (mixed in with a lot of bitter and angry ones).

(Catch up on previous posts by clicking on them in the “Recent Posts” list to the bottom right.)


What am I talking about when I say that “the cliff has been averted”?

As you know if you’ve been following this blog for the past couple of months, or if you’ve read Jim Collins’ book, or by checking out the chart below…

The Five Stages Of Decline

When a failing company continues to deny its own risk and peril long enough, it “falls off a cliff” from Stage 3 to Stage 4, and starts grasping for salvation, taking desperate measures to try to rebound and recover.

Well, here’s the good news for GKIC…

Through months full of multiple problems and decline, culminating in the departure of their CEO and the hiring of a new President, GKIC leadership had stubbornly refused to admit anything was wrong – and one executive even showed either utter blindness (or amazing denial) of the disaster by stating “it’s business as usual.”

But that appears to have changed.

Last Friday, I received this communication from that same GKIC executive:

“There is a big mental push on the GKIC “inside” to get back to the Glory Days. That is straight from Dan (he was in the office meeting all day yesterday) and the whole team is ALL IN.”

Did you catch that? Because it was fairly subtle.

For the first time ever that I’ve heard or seen, a GKIC executive has acknowledged that the company needs to “get back” to a better time in the past.


Having Dan Kennedy himself, the world’s #1 small business marketing and growth expert, fly in to spend an entire day meeting with the employees and Board members, and admitting that “the whole team” needs to “push” to stop the decline and return to better days, is a sure enough sign for me that GKIC is no longer in “Denial of Risk and Peril.”

And that means that the company has applied the brakes to its fall, perhaps only moments before it would have tumbled over the Stage 3 cliff and practically straight down into Stage 4.

In fact, such humility is a sure-fire sign that the company has shed its hubris – which was the first Stage Of Decline.

This is GREAT NEWS for all long-suffering members, employees, affiliates, strategic partners and fans of Dan Kennedy and GKIC!

Sure, they have yet to admit it publicly – or even just to their members – but I’ll take anything I can get at this point and conclude that all of GKIC is committed to end its stumbling and bumbling and determined to climb back up to the lofty perch it once occupied in the small business marketing world back in “the Glory Days.”

After all, when this same GKIC executive angrily asked me “What would YOU do if YOU ran GKIC?” a few weeks ago (he left off the “Mr. Bigshot” at the end – but that was clearly in his tone), that was my exact response:

I told him I would beg Dan Kennedy for his help, pay any amount Dan asked for his consulting and then LISTEN TO and FOLLOW every single word he said.

(I even suggested that the “pay” part might not be required of GKIC, seeing as how Dan is “on the payroll” as the remaining co-founder of the company.)

Of course, I don’t know what request, pleading or financial arrangement brought Dan to GKIC’s Chicago headquarters last week.

But if the powers-that-be stop ignoring everything Dan’s ever taught about how to properly run a business, and start following every letter of his advice, I believe the company will reverse its decline and move back towards regaining the respect, admiration and position in the marketing community that it once held (back in “the Glory Days”).

Will it ever get back to the undisputed leadership position in the marketing community that it once held?

Maybe, and maybe not. That is certainly a VERY tall order.

But this is just as certainly a start in the right direction.

And the first step in the reversal of the oh-so-incredibly-wrong direction in which the company had been headed.

And to that, I’ll say it again:


What are your thoughts?

I’d love to read your comment below.

2 Responses to Cliff Is Averted!

  1. Phil Brakefield Reply

    January 16, 2013 at 7:52 am

    There is no better example than myself of the fact that if you read a diet book, it does not mean you will lose weight.

    Implementation, not just education is the key.

    So, I hope the company TAKES ACTION on Dan’s suggestions.

    I’m still pulling for ’em!

  2. Ace Luciano Reply

    January 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Maybe, just MAYBE this is a sign of good things to come.

    Of course, they could have just asked you what you would do and then listened, thereby saving the money AND humiliation… but some people are hard learners.

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