NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Aside from fraud and illegalities, it's one of the most lethal choices in business. It is also a conscience choice, one that's usually made out of arrogance. It's not a quick death. But rather a slow, torturous one. Especially for shareholders.
I am talking about the dreadful business plan: Complacency.
Fraud -- the quick and deadly business plan -- wipes out a company, along with its shareholders relatively fast. Companies such as Enron or WorldCom probably ring a bell.
Complacency is a different beast. It takes the true ugliness of a company and masks it with a semi-beautiful facade. A lie. A gimmick usually hinged upon some crap product or impossible "if-then" situation.
And while it can pull the wool over the eyes of shareholders for some time, in the end, it spirals out of control. Management tries to sell these lies, but complacency gripped them first, before it snaked its way through the business operations.
Here's how it goes: Business is swell. Revenue is big, margins are fat and profits have never been better. It almost seems like there's too much money.
Management, after receiving millions upon millions of dollars in compensation via bonuses, salaries and stock options, begins to no longer care. Most of them can't help it.
Like the big-time athlete who finally nails down the $100+ million contract, company executives start to lose their edge. Because everything is going so well now, why change?
Phones will always have a keyboard. That's what BlackBerry (BBRY) thought. Now we do a double take when we see someone jabbing away at their physical keyboards.