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The success of American Express during the 2008 financial crisis can be attributed not only to their bold strategy of shifting product focus, but also to the careful and systematic implementation of their action plan. Faced with an unprecedented crisis, the company had to adopt an innovative approach to address the challenges it was facing.

Firstly, the company had to accept that its previous business model was no longer viable in the current economic climate. Instead of clinging to their high-value credit cards and waiting for the crisis to pass, American Express decided to take a risk and explore new market opportunities. To do this, the company had to step out of its comfort zone and learn how to market and sell more affordable credit and insurance products.

Secondly, the company had to work hard to build new relationships with a different customer base. This meant investing in advertising campaigns and marketing programs that targeted new demographics and attracted a broader audience. Moreover, American Express had to implement new information and technology systems to support their new products and enhance the customer experience.

Thirdly, the company had to cut costs in other aspects of their business to allow for the development of these new products. This meant reducing advertising expenses, downsizing the number of employees, and seeking more efficient ways to manage their business. While these cuts were not easy, they allowed the company to stay on the path towards long-term success.

Ultimately, American Express’ shift in strategy worked. The company managed to recover from the financial crisis and maintain its position as a leading financial services provider worldwide. This story highlights the importance of innovation, boldness, and adaptability in times of change and challenge. By embracing new ideas and approaches, businesses can uncover new market opportunities and pave the way to success.


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  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. The book explores how people can champion new ideas and how leaders can fight groupthink. Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt. Available on Amazon.
  • The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. The book shows how individuals can develop the skills necessary to move progressively from idea to impact. Through interviews with entrepreneurs like the founders of Amazon, eBay, and Starbucks, the authors show that innovative entrepreneurs exhibit five discovery skills that distinguish them from ordinary entrepreneurs: Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting. Available on Amazon.
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow. The book explains the two systems that drive the way we think: System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. Available on Amazon.


“Give it a try and see” in a business context encourages experimentation, taking calculated risks, and embracing the potential for failure as a learning opportunity. Here’s how to interpret this advice and what to do if your business is stuck in a rut or overly risk-averse:

1. Embrace Experimentation: Try new things in your business, whether it’s a new marketing strategy, a new product line, or a new business process. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

2. Calculate Risks: While it’s important to try new things, it’s also crucial to take calculated risks. Understand the potential downside before diving in, and make sure the potential upside outweighs it.

3. Learn from Failure: Not every experiment or risk will result in success, and that’s okay. Failure can be a valuable learning experience. Analyze what went wrong, make adjustments, and try again.

4. Measure Results: When you try something new, measure the results. This will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make more informed decisions in the future.

If you find that your business is overly risk-averse or stuck in a rut, here are some steps to address this:

1. Acknowledge the Issue: The first step in solving any problem is acknowledging it. Recognize that your business needs to be more open to taking calculated risks and trying new things.

2. Encourage a Culture of Experimentation: Foster an environment where employees feel safe to propose and test new ideas. Celebrate both successes and valuable failures as learning opportunities.

3. Develop a Process for Risk Assessment: Establish a framework for evaluating the potential risks and rewards of new initiatives. This will help ensure that the risks you take are calculated and justified.

4. Implement Measurement Tools: Use data analytics tools to measure the results of your experiments. This will provide valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t.

5. Review and Reflect: Regularly review your efforts and reflect on the outcomes. Use this information to adjust your strategies and make better decisions in the future.

Remember, innovation often requires taking risks. By giving new ideas a try and learning from the outcomes, you can drive growth and stay competitive in your industry.

Test yourself

1. In the business context, “Give it a try and see” is best interpreted as which of the following?


2. How might the principle of “Give it a try and see” apply to a company’s product development strategy?


3. Why might a company adopt the “Give it a try and see” approach in its marketing strategy?


4. How does the principle of “Give it a try and see” apply to talent management in a company?


5. In the context of business growth strategies, how can a company implement the “Give it a try and see” principle?


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