Change Of Face

Shapeshifting

Shapeshifting Sands

Shapeshifting is as tricky and risky as it sounds. It's hard to focus on the periphery of your business. Sheehy says executives at one of his client companies resisted expanding a sideline business that was actually producing half the company's profits as well as growing faster than the core operation. "You'd be surprised how long it takes people to recognize that," he says.

Shapeshifting also creates tension in a company, as a long-established business is cast aside in favor of a new one. Employees who are comfortable in the old world are likely to resist being pulled into an unfamiliar one. The situation is worsened by the fact that shapeshifting means leaving behind the things that got you where you are and is best begun while the old line of business is still seemingly viable. "You have to have the discipline to be able to shift money to support these new areas," Sheehy warns.

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This article was originally published in the April 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Change Of Face.

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