Being the largest or most powerful always leaves you open to criticism. In fact it can go beyond that;
when you’re at the top you can become the target of deep animosity, even hatred. It can be hard totake sometimes; decisions that would be praised as ‘shrewd and necessary’ if they came from small business suddenly become ‘ruthless and unjust’.
It’s a situation that changes rapidly, in fact it’s almost comedic how quickly these things can alter. The mobile industry in particular moves so fast that over a number of months a company can go from being championed as an exciting challenger to being derided as an uncompetitive bully. EE is one company that has had to put up with a lot of flak since it became the biggest UK network.
The business has had to adapt to cope with every decision being analysed and reviewed in far greater detail than when it existed as Orange and T-Mobile. Each restructuring or contractual change produces a heightened reaction and intensified media glare. Following its recent financial results, Mobile spoke to EE’s CEO Olaf Swantee, and it was refreshing to see him attack some of the key issues head on. There have been a lot of big decisions made by the network in recent months, andthe industry always appreciates the main decision maker explaining why things have been done. Another key element when you’re a big company is making sure you don’t become unapproachable.
This not to say that market leaders’ decisions shouldn’t be subject to vigorous scrutiny, particularly from the press. The key is to ensure that you cast the same gaze across all companies in the industryand don’t let market position prejudice the way that you examine decisions. What’s important to remember whatever your situation is that things can change; you might be at the top one day and find yourself at the bottom the next. Making enemies might seem like a good idea at the time, but itcould well come back to bite you when you need a friend.