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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why most organizations and businesses die

I couldn't help but think about how both the Post Office and the Baltimore Sun are dying institutions this week.  I reached my monthly limit of free views on the Baltimore Sun for December and now have to subscribe to see articles online.  I have a subscription for their shrinking newspaper but that is not good enough to give me the online articles.  So I will forget about them online for the rest of the month.  I guess they don't think seeing their online annoying ads is worth giving me free views.

The Post Office this week talked about slowing first class mail and stopping Saturday delivery.  I guess they will drive more people to pay bills online now that we don't know when our payments will be received and we might get overdue penalties.  I have already gone to online cards and banking. Unfortunately for the Post Office Congress has required them to do things that now longer make business sense.  Delivery to every address is so outdated as those of us in Columbia have know for years.  They will only be a package delivery service eventually.

The problem with both of these institutions is they think they can right themselves financially by cutting services and shrinking.  What they need to do is find something new to make me use their services in new ways.    Businesses and organizations that adapt and grow new businesses survive.  Contracting only delays their death.  I can give you two examples of this.

Remember when Apple was a computer company?  When the Macintosh was failing to keep the company profitable and Dell was eating into their business they brought back Steve Jobs and he came up with the Ipod and turned the company into a music business, then brought out the IPhone and turned them into a phone company.

The second example is General Electric.  Think it is still a power company that makes light bulbs?  It's financial services is its most profitable divisions now.  They also make jet engines and MRI machines.  In fact their medical technology division is their second most profitable division.

Looking for growth opportunities doesn't have to be as transformational as these two examples.  Google just keeps coming up with new online services that provide a wide range of online tools.  Because of their reputation they quickly become the standard for these online tools.  They miss once in a while, like with their efforts to create a social networking application, but they move on to new tools constantly.

Reinvent or die is the mantra for today.  "If it ain't broke don't fix it" never did really work.

Oldie song to stay in your mind all weekend


Anonymous said...

Why would the Post Office need to re-invent itself? It's a government sponsored monopoly. If people no longer need its services (and they don't), let it die.

I saw a piece on television awhile ago about the Post Office, where it was mentioned that the Post Office is encouraging advertisers to send junk mail. Theory being you can't just delete a piece of mail. What a waste of resources, and what a burden on the environment. The Post Office needs to die ASAP.

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Julia McCready said...

It seems that this topic is particularly appropriate in Columbia. We can't go back to being what we used to be--how can we meet the needs of the people we are now?