The three main dimensions of “Productive Paranoia” exhibited by high performing or 10X companies , as mentioned by Jim Collins in “Great By Choice” are as follows:
- Build cash reserves and buffers is like having sufficient oxygen cannisters to help climb Mount Everest.It is the reserve that bails a company out of crisis situations and helps to proceed with its 20 Mile March even during tough times
- Bound all possible risks and safeguarding against them with religious planning.The risks are a) Death Line Risks b) Asymmetric Risks c) Uncontrollable risks and d) Time bound risks
- Zooming out and in and being continuously vigilant to sense change conditions and threats in the environment.
Thus “Productive Paranoia” when exercised with the right intention can help to keep a company afloat and make profit and growth during difficult times.
The best example that comes to mind is how SouthWest Airlines made profits without any job cuts post 9/11 by demonstrating this quality to the best extent possible.