Highly innovative with high stakeholder expectations, Peacocks can suffer from overconfidence due to previous successes resulting in insufficient preparedness. Moreover, they often believe that “doing the right thing” is all that is needed to protect reputation.
Peacocks are admired for their beauty, are often associated with royalty and in some religions symbolize immortality and regeneration. Their unique feather pattern and color ensures that the peacock will stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, in addition to these admirable qualities, the peacock is also associated with pride.
Peacock organizations are typically highly successful and often a darling of their industry. Their offerings—and often their leadership teams—tend to be showy, highly innovative and unique, setting new standards. However, not unlike their namesake, Peacock organizations can, over time, come to view themselves as the proverbial “smartest guys in the room.”
Peacock organizations often believe that because they are “doing the right thing” that they are essentially immortal and not subject to the same risks and pitfalls as other, more mundane organizations. As a result, they fail to prepare believing—despite events and evidence to the contrary—that crises “could never happen to us.” This denial then tends to be paired with over-confidence and a belief that in the off-chance something does happen, that their brilliant and quick-thinking leadership team will save the day. In reality, these organizations are slow to understand risk and once faced with the inevitable, their response tends to be reactive and inconsistent, often described as “too little, too late.”
One of the best aspects of Peacock organizations, especially early on, is that they tend to be quite responsive to stakeholders in particular employees and end-users. As a result, when Peacock organizations do deal with the occasional issue, they are given the benefit of the doubt and escape significant reputational damage. However, over time this can build an unwarranted confidence that, in its worst form, can turn to arrogance. When this happens, dissonant voices or concerns are marginalized, and early warning signs that not everything is perfect are frequently ignored.
Get real and recognize that you will have a target on your back at some point and you need to get ready. As they say, “What goes up, must come down” and you need to start to build your crisis management safety net – now!
You’ve got a good thing going so don’t take your reputation for granted! Actively understand concerns, “listen to the crazies” and develop a formal process to anticipate and proactively manage issues which left unaddressed could cause serious problems in a less adoring environment.