Action not Reaction
Some companies tend to lurch from crisis to crisis; it’s either a crisis in resources (you haven’t got enough skills to fulfil your obligations) or it’s a crisis in cash flow (you are struggling to make the wages bill). The company is constantly having to change according to the current set of circumstances that it finds itself in.
The company might be on the cutting edge of technology; it might even be a fun place to work. Unfortunately innovation is unlikely if you are always reacting to circumstances; it can only happen if you have done the research and have chosen to act. Lurching from self-induced crisis to crisis is the sure sign that a business doesn’t have either the strategic vision or the execution capability.
Being beholden to circumstances is fine for very small companies with a tight knit core; you all know each other and the team synergy can often work around most crises. Still, as companies grow the importance of being able to act and not just react becomes more apparent. If you are having to react to other companies’ product announcements and roadmaps then this doesn’t allow you to do your best work. You may not have the R&D capability or budget to compete on the same terms; you will suffer reputational damage by coming to market first with a less than viable MVP.
You don’t have to change what you do from an R&D perspective; what you need to do is to figure out what your product and vision has that nobody else has; once you know what that is, then you can change the nature of the engagement with your intended market.