Dance and Turn
We can watch ice dancers race, turn, and pivot as they try to make beauty on the ice. Each individual or team has a different set of moves and different music that they dance to. Businesses all over have the same opportunity to race, turn, and pivot to find new ways to profit during times like now when what has worked in the past no longer works. The next few years will continue to have rapid changes because of debt, generational changes, and more. We will have to continue the dance for years.
Yes, we are in rapid changes. While the pandemic was the trigger, our economic world had been teetering on the edge for a while. Our world is awash in debt and a debt slowdown was inevitable.
We are also in the middle of a generational change. The Baby Boomers are retiring and dying off. Both the next generation and the generation after that will have to carry the country forward.
The next few years will be a challenging time. Even though the stock market roared back, the economy has not. Worldwide, we are facing a serious slowdown. No country has escaped and all are slowing.
One thing is very clear - attempts to "go back to the good times" won't work. What worked during the good times rarely continues to work in this new environment. The people who made the good times work are those who are now retiring.
We need to innovate and find new ideas, new strategies, and new techniques to survive. This is called "pivoting" the company. Inc. magazine recently surveyed their most successful firms. Many of them have already pivoted since the pandemic hit.
Pivoting the company is difficult. Smaller companies pivot much easier than larger ones do. In most recessions, the leading companies prior to the recession rarely are the leaders after the recession. This has to do both with the size of the company and the type of people who work in such companies.
Large firms have a hard time pivoting as fast as smaller firms do. Most major firms exist to preserve an existing structure. That means that they hire, train, and promote those who know how to preserve existing structures.
Take IBM as an example. At one time, it was the technology leader of America. However, the environment changed and it no longer met the needs. It has gone through a number of changes. Whole divisions and product lines have been sold off. Many of the workers have retired or have been let go. It is a totally different company today than it was then. It has a very different set of products and services. It took a lot to pivot such a large, successful company.
Our future will come from new ideas, new people, new services, and new ways of dealing with the world. Instead of trying to protect old ideas and old companies, we would do better to find those people with new ideas and promote them.