Andy Grove – In Praise of Paranoia

He may have started it. With the release of his 1999 book, Only the Paranoid Survive, Andy Grove may have triggered the now widespread view that paranoia is an essential part of a leader’s mindset. A paranoia that drives leaders to actively anticipate and rapidly respond to the strategic inflection points that characterize every industry.
The enduring legacy of the former Intel CEO, who passed away last week, is that this mindset is now reflected in leaders and businesses that endure.
When Fortune did a feature article on Goldman Sachs, the subtitle revealed, “The biggest surprise of all? The paranoia that keeps driving (them) to the top.” An HBR article noted that, “Toyota grows steadily, yet it is a paranoid company.” In their book, Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen wrote that a key trait of companies that produce dramatic results is their “productive paranoia.”
Cultivate paranoia. Not a paralyzing paranoia, or an irrational paranoia of everyone and everything. But a constantly scanning paranoia that senses change, evaluates implications, and triggers action.
Cultivate a healthy paranoia.
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