Most companies embrace change when they first enter the market, because change presents opportunities for start-up companies to outmaneuver larger organizations that are less adaptable and more reliant on the status quo. Anyone who has been part of a quickly growing start-up organization knows the feeling of stealing away market share simply because it’s more in tune with the buyer and more effective at marketing and delivering its solution. Those companies are drivers of change, not victims of it. The impact this dynamic is highlighted in the book Creative Destruction by Richard Foster and Sarah Kaplan when discussing S&P 500 companies:
“If history is a guide, no more than a third of today’s major corporations will survive in an economically important way over the next twenty years. Those that do not survive will die a Hindu death of transformation, as they are acquired or merged with part of a larger, stronger organization, rather than a Judeo-Christian death, but it will be death nonetheless. And the demise of these companies will come from a lack of competitive adaptiveness. To be blunt, most of these companies will die or be bought out and absorbed because they are too slow to keep pace with change in the market. By 2020, more than three quarters of the S&P 500 will consist of companies we don’t know today.”
Staffing executives face many potential threats to growth. Ironically, the genesis of many of these threats is the structure of the business itself, and the firm’s inability to adapt and bring innovative approaches to changing market conditions. Overtime this leads to greater strategic and operational misalignment to the marketplace. To address misalignment, executives, must understand how the market is changing, challenge their business model, and adapt the organization as necessary. From high level strategy to operational execution there must be no sacred cows to ensure a long term sustainable future. Without embracing change executives are betting on long term continuity in an industry that has seen just the opposite over the last 30 years.
Some staffing executives don’t believe adapting will lead to a competitive advantage and there are legitimate reasons for not wanting to change your organization. Change is disruptive, it can hurt current performance, and there is no guarantee that changes will deliver the promised results. However, even if changing market conditions are not enough to justify change, executives must also compete with companies who are investing in improvements to take away market share. A company who doesn’t respond with improvements of their own will become less and less competitive until they lose relevance and are either purchased or gradually fade away.