business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Michael Sansolo

There are two comments I hear constantly from business people these days on the state of their world, meaning the state of change.

It starts with the enormity of all the change hitting them. There’s competition, shifting consumer demands, technology, government and more. Just pause for a second and think of two articles Kevin had on MNB Monday.

One talked about the increased reliance on robots - not to replace workers, but rather because qualified and willing workers are becoming harder to find.

The second article mentioned Amazon’s recent hiring blitz, looking for 50,000 workers to staff the growing supply chain machine the company needs to fuel its own growth. Those articles, combined with the improving economy mean an entirely new competitive front is about to get a whole lot tougher: the battle for top labor.

But that isn’t it. On top of the enormity of change is the seemingly increasing pace of change. As if the relentless pressure wasn’t enough, everyone now has to cope with a new reality: things are moving way, way faster than ever.

The result of this is something we harp on constantly here at MNB (and hopefully something you hear everywhere.) Good enough no longer is just that. More than ever you need find a way to make the ordinary become extraordinary.

You need a reason to be chosen as the place where people want to do business and as well as the place where they want to be employed. Like it or not, that means whatever you are doing today is not going to be enough in a future that is coming faster than ever.

But what got me thinking about all this change was an article in the Lifestyle section of the Washington Post on possibly the one group of people that actually worried that there isn't enough change.

Panhandlers.

The Post article unearthed an emerging truth that shows just how different life is becoming. Panhandlers are struggling and not because people are being stingy or unfeeling. Rather, people simply aren’t carrying change. The problem is especially bad among millennials and only promises to get worse in the near future as cash becomes less and less important.

Some panhandlers told the Post they frequently hear passersby say they only have cards and would happily give some money, if the panhandler somehow had a device to swipe an electronic payment. (Not surprisingly, few panhandlers have those devices. Apparently there are folks developing an app for this problem…but you knew that would happen.)

Most likely - and hopefully - this isn’t your problem. But the reality is that life is changing. The small shift in people carrying no money and moving increasingly to digital payments is just one of many lifestyle changes taking place. In so many ways it isn’t far removed from any of the other ways that consumers are behaving in new and unexpected ways.

And those shifts are impacting every aspect of what were the lives we knew.


Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at msansolo@mnb.grocerywebsite.com . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
KC's View: