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Adaptability

Ben Horowitz talks about the difference between a war-time CEO and a peace-time CEO. Which is similar to Mario Puzo's version of the war-time consigliere and peace-time consigliere.

The idea behind both these concepts is that a CEO and a Consigliere need to embrace different roles when their company or their Mafia family is at war or in a time of prosperous peace. Someone who is effective in times of peace might be totally ineffective in times of war.

A loose extension of this is Sachin Rekhi's idea of product - culture fit, where he talks about four types of companies classified by their culture - engineering driven (like Google), data driven (like Booking.com), design driven (like Airbnb), sales driven (like Salesforce).

He goes on to make the point that the role of a product manager is totally different in each of these types of companies. What it takes to succeed in one type of company can be totally different from what it takes to succeed at another.

If one tries to operate in an engineering-driven culture at a sales-driven company (or any of the other mismatch of combinations), then they are very unlikely to succeed and make an impact.

Understanding the environment we are in and adapting to what's needed to thrive there is important. While it is important to learn from and incorporate good ideas from other cultures, it needs to be done in a way such that it doesn't question the identity of the company. Otherwise, the change will be rejected and won't stick.

The key to bringing about lasting change is to first adapt. 

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