Antifragility in a Changing World: Wisdom for Business Resilience


During changing times like now, I often miss the discussions with my long-time mentor and board member Jan Inborr, who suddenly passed away three years ago. His 50 years in business and true devotion to training leaders has in many ways made me the CEO I am today.

One of his most adamant doctrines was antifragility, meaning that a business must always gauge risks and opportunities with the perspective of its whole existence: Will the project or deal at hand jeopardize the entire company, especially if there’s a global financial crisis? If the answer is yes, or even maybe, the company must first build enough reserves or other pillars of support before taking on such an endeavor.

In order to increase antifragility, one must often go against modern wisdom, which has relentlessly lectured us to narrow down core businesses, concentrate on fewer products or services or outsource vital support functions to lowest bidders. Do what you do best, and only that! Sound familiar? Now with COVID19, companies with three or more core businesses are more likely to survive. In a rapidly changing environment, these companies can quickly adapt and combine different types of expertise around the enterprise.

There is more time to adapt, and the culture of adaptation is already there. We at BaseN have implemented Mr. Inborr’s doctrine. Yes, we could have grown faster with more risky moves with e.g. venture capital or shedding away lower margin customers. We could have concentrated only to serve enterprise customers. But we didn’t – and we now have a profitable, sustainable and above all antifragile company, with loyal staff and a growing number of new opportunities. Thank you Jan.


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