By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.
“Sid……There’s nothing Biblical about Retirement…”…..Walter Payne, Son of a Baptist Minister, CEO and President, ImageMark, Gastonia, NC
We hear, with an uneasy frequency, about the demise of our great industry --- the industry that gave birth to the Reformation, and much of Civilization…as we know it.
I’d like to draw your attention to a few Reports, some people would rather we forget:
- “We don’t like their sound, and (electric) guitar music is on the way out.”- Decca Recording Company on declining to sign the Beatles, 1962.
- “Reagan doesn’t have that presidential look” – United Artists executive after rejecting Reagan as the lead in the 1964 film, The Best Man.
- “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” – Albert Einstein, 1932.
- “It will be gone by June” – Variety Magazine, giving a prediction on the future of rock-and-roll in 1955.
- “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – H.M. Warner, founder of Warner Brothers.
Our industry is alive, and growing, as an opinion. If you ask for evidence, check the “total employment numbers” over the last decade. As we continue to invest in more productive equipment and technology, employment numbers have remained incredibly steady (though the average age --- continues to go up, which I believe --- is at an “inflection point”).
Our great industry is also changing. For instance, it’s my observation that:
- Customers are learning that “the lowest priced supplier” they can’t afford, for surprise extra costs of program disruptions, inconsistent quality, broken promise deliveries, and late --- incorrect invoices..
- Companies who remain will be better managed, and are now, purposefully developing their “best of breed” capabilities.
- Segments of our industry, such as Wide-Format, and Short-run Digital, have significant margins, and continued --- even explosive growth. (Note: Short-run Digital is no longer --- Short-run.)
- Book sales and short-run publications (the ones you hold in your hand and turn pages to read) keep increasing. (“Three-quarters of the way through 2018, unit sales of print books were up 2.5% over the January through September period of 2017…”) College professors are refusing to allow smartphones in their classrooms. (And the EU intends to restrict social media’s backroom, loss of privacy activities.)
- “The Ratio Studies” are increasingly, even generally --- recognized for what they weren’t….a guide for what we should model our company after. They were a reference. No more. The “best” and “worst” performing companies --- generally refused to Report. We knew organizations whose bottom-line was generally 15% – 20%, who never reported their numbers --- to anyone --- outside our CEO Peer Group.
- New Associations and Trade Shows --- are starting-up, as company owners and suppliers --- recognize (a) “lack of substance and support”, (b) “piracy pricing” --- that otherwise could have improved how owners manage their companies --- and (c) the value of their time, without buying more equipment or technology.
- Recruitment of new and energetic talent --- is increasing, as organizations have increasing customer demand --- trying to come-in --- to trustworthy, innovative suppliers.
“Systems Theory” is clear --- that ways of doing things, and how the world is connected-up, tend to continue --- far longer than anyone expects, or predicts.
There are beginning changes in the curriculum offered at university programs --- that’s less parochial, and more useful to a company owner --- searching for new employees who can bring new dimensions of value to the owner’s company. (Contact Professor of Technology, Dr. Jerry Waite, U. of Houston, at [email protected], or 713-743-4089)
Are you delegating, and developing your organization’s next leaders? ..Or…”are you holding-on”--- because you don’t know what you’d do if you didn’t have your current position and title…?
If those in key positions are guiding their ship by “looking through their rear-view mirror” --- as too many are……change is inevitable to occur, whether you want it or not.
“Life is a great big canvas;…..throw all the paint you can at it.”……..Danny Kaye