“A leader can’t lead if he doesn’t know where he is going” John Locke, circa 2004, LOST
- The fastest growing retailer, #18 on the Fortune 500, owns no stores;
- The fastest growing transportation company is a private firm that owns no vehicles and is valued higher than 72% of the Fortune 500;
- The fastest growing hospitality company is less than 10 years old and owns no rooms!
Are Amazon, Uber and Air BNB metaphors for where things are heading? These are young gazelles that throw caution to the wind, executing strategies that turn traditional business planning on its head. Amazon, the elderly member of the group, has yet to reach 25 while the others are still infants, under 10 years old.
Let’s look at the retail industry as a microcosm of today’s global economy. Just this past week Macy’s, one of the traditional stalwarts in the retail industry, announced the closing of 68 stores and layoffs totaling 10,000 system wide. The Limited, which at one point in time had sales over $1 billion via 750 stores, has closed it’s doors. This is a company that spawned names like Victoria’s Secret, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Abercombie and Fitch, and Express. Sears just announced they will close another 150 Sears and Kmart stores following a disappointing holiday season.
Are people shopping less? Clearly not; 2016, as in years past, yielded comfortable and steady growth in consumer spending: Take a look here!
I had a mentor who once told me that if you stick in an industry long enough you will witness first hand fundamental and profound shifts like the industrial revolution, and also have the opportunity to lead change that can help that same industry evolve to a new paradigm. I believe we are experiencing that type of fundamental shift right now with economic development.
Are you still chasing call centers?
What’s the point of all of this? A statement of the obvious: profound change is upon us. Big game hunting is a tired pastime. Talent, infrastructure and quality of life are the game-changing differentiators. To be relevant, we need to be in that space.