A Fork in the Road
Adaptation is one of the keys to survival. Without adaptation we would still be in the treetops hanging from our tails. Without adaptation we don't grow. In fact, without adaptation we become extinct. This is just as true in the corporate world as it is in the biological world.
Some examples you ask? How about Wells Fargo—the trusty, old stagecoach company now morphed into a global banker?
How about the teamsters? When is the last time you saw a teamster lead a team of horses. Not in almost 100 years. Yet, they are still here and still perform the same function as the first teamsters—they are the critical partners of commerce that actually deliver the goods we consume.
The list of successful corporate failures or the near failures is as endless as the adaptations. Take the railroad industry: The railroads were once the pre-eminent mover of people and freight. They had power and money, and moved whatever the country needed to have moved. How is it possible that they didn't see the auto and, most importantly in their case, the truck as a threat?
How is it possible that the airlines that make most of their profit on business travel didn't see the threat and the possibilities of virtual meetings taking place on the Internet? Do you think virtual meetings are going to go away, or just get more efficient and user-friendly?
Why didn't these companies, at the very least, hedge their bets and adapt, grow, morph with the changing times? Why didn't they keep their successful economic platforms, and reach out and absorb the competitive new technologies?
It all boils down to management, vision and not only the ability, but the willingness to change.
Barbarians at the Gate
So here we are in the printing industry, the demands for adaptation right before our eyes. Here is a time where some will be the dodos and some will be soaring eagles.