Remember the game where you stood individual dominoes on their end next to each other so you could topple the first one, falling on the second one, and so on? You could build a whole line of planned destruction of the formation you created. Well, a similar pattern is emerging that has a similar result, only the dominoes are businesses that are in troubl, with lost jobs. Let me explain.
There is a destruction-creation force currently at work when an event like Covid-19 occurs. It causes a shift in the economy, industries and functions. Examples are throughout history: Transitioning from an agricultural economy to an industrial one; the impact of the assembly line; from manual computation to the computer; brick and mortar purchases to on-line sales; from gas-driven cars to electric and eventually driverless cars. When these events occur it destroys what was, and introduces us to what will be. For the individual to succeed in this environment they need to stay alert, informed, nimble and prepared.
The Covid-19 pandemic is such an event. It causes less successful businesses to either operate at a higher risk or go out of business. The effect is a consolidation within industries and a compression within the workforce. In other words, consolidated companies may need people with different skills. It also diminishes the competitive forces of choice for the consumer. As an example, look at the mergers or closing of movie theaters, malls, local small food stores, independent pharmacies to name a few. Larger companies can also take advantage of the extremely low interest rates available during the pandemic to fund growth.
On the other hand, massive corporations are formed that dominates the market may or may not serve the greater public interest, or save costs. It causes a funneling of consumers into fewer alternatives. It’s like driving on a 12-lane highway that gradually shrinks into a two-lane road. Examples are seen in most all segments of the marketplace. You’ll know when consolidation has overreached when you start hearing about the government getting involved to break-up a large dominate enterprise where competition struggles. (Think Facebook, Google, and Amazon)
So, what can you do as an individual? I can think of a few alternatives:
- Develop new skills and experiences that are needed in this new environment: On-line courses, training programs in new technology, advanced certificate, or apprenticeships
- Move to a higher growth company or function that will prosper in this environment. Make sure you’ll get the training necessary to be more productive
- Provide a product or service that larger companies can’t. Be quicker to adapt and attract new business, and give your customers exceptional value
- Gravitate to functions that will add revenue, reduce costs, manage change, develop new business, increase productivity, or keep customers happy. Those functions will always be in demand.
When the world around you is in a state of change you need to minimize risk, keep alert to opportunity and prepare for the future.
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