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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

If You Don’t Like Change – You Are Going To Hate Extinction

Robert Stevenson - If you dont like change you are going to hate extinction

I have conducted many programs over the years on change, with my favorite program title being, “If You Don’t Like Change – You are Going to Hate Extinction.” I warn, I harp, I plead, I caution, I alert … I hope people are listening because, even though the program title is funny, it is also very true.


There are many reasons companies fail. Some of the top reasons are: poor management, competition, technological advances, poor customer service, lack of innovation, shifts in market demand, poor quality, over-expansion, lack of focus, ineffective marketing, recessions, inflation, toxic culture driving away top talent, pandemics, and failure to adapt. The “Resistance to Change” is by far the most prominent reason. So many times, I see companies who have the philosophy … “If we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we always have gotten.” Nothing could be further from the truth.


The oldest apparel brand in the United States, Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818, grew to 424 stores globally, doing $1.2 billion in sales, and had over 9,000 employees. Over 200 years in business, surviving wars, recessions, and a depression, but they couldn’t handle COVID; they went bankrupt in 2020.


H.H. Gregg, a former American retail company specializing in electronics and home appliances, was founded in 1955. The company was started by Henry Harold Gregg and his wife, Fansy, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Initially, it operated as an appliance and home furnishings store. Over the years, H.H. Gregg expanded its offerings to include a wide range of consumer electronics, home appliances, and furniture. The company grew to 220 stores, with 5,000 employees and $2 billion in sales. They went bankrupt in 2017.


Radio Shack, founded in 1921, was the #1 retailer in its market segment in the world with over 7,300 stores, 5,825 employees, and $4.8 billion in sales. In the 60s, Radio Shack was called The McDonald’s of Electronics and The Walmart of Hi-Tech. In the 70s, it sold more computers than IBM and Apple combined. It filed for bankruptcy in 2017.


Sports Authority, with over 450 stores, doing $3.5 billion in sales and employing 20,000 people, went bankrupt in 2016. I miss Toys “R” Us, Circuit City, and Borders Books. These companies were all enormously successful and lost it all.

BlackBerry dominated the mobile phone market through 2006. 50% of all smartphones sold were BlackBerry models. The Apple iPhone was introduced in 2007, but BlackBerry wasn’t worried because of the size of their market share; customers loved their phones. By 2009, BlackBerry’s share of the global smartphone market was down to 20%. Today, they are basically gone.


I don’t care who you are, the number of locations you’ve got, how long you’ve been in business, or your incredible gross sales … always be worried. One of my favorite quotes is from Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, who said … “Only the paranoid survive. The paranoids believe someone, or some force is out to get them.”


If you want to survive,instill that attitude into your corporate culture.

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