This year was the first year for Eastman Kodak to exit the Fortune 500. Its high point was sitting at number 18 during the mid-1990s. This year it slid to number 562 (“Chartist” Fortune, May 20, 2013, p. 22).
Kodak is not the only significant slide in recent years. Black and Decker used to be number 106, Bethlehem Steel used to be number 8, and Unisys used to be number 36. Each one eventually left the 500 club due to changes in strategy, the economy, the industry, or business globalization.
While some companies have been able to stay on top of the mountain for many decades, that alone never guarantees their longevity. Decisions involving leadership, marketing, and strategy are made fresh daily. Yesterday’s decisions do not necessarily have relevance today. The future will demand fresh decisions.
No company is immune to these dynamics. No company comes with any guarantees. Every company—if it wants to survive and thrive—must strategically engage its new world every single day.