"Why did the Swiss lose the watch market to the Japanese and others?
According to Bill Byron Concevitch, chief learning officer for Verint, the Swiss discovered the idea of a transistorized watch over 40 years ago, yet they did nothing about it. In his book, Counter-Intuitive Selling (Kaplan Publishing, 2007), Concevitch points out what happened. The Swiss didn’t pursue the idea of a transistorized watch because it was counter-intuitive to their thinking.
Some Japanese businessmen were visiting Switzerland, heard about the idea, and asked the leaders of the Swiss watchmaking industry if they planned to pursue the idea. Told no, the Japanese recognized the opportunity. As Concevitch explained during a visit to AMA, the Japanese were prompted to pursue the idea because they had no preconceived notions about watches. The story, he shared, points out the importance of giving up old habits and embracing new ways of thinking and acting—counter-intuitive to our current thinking.
“Today,” said Concevitch, “the Swiss still have a small piece of the global watch market, but 80% of watches today are built in Japan and elsewhere."
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