Many companies in today’s marketplace are encountering tremendous difficulty staying current with all of the changes taking place. I know many people who are currently being forced to rethink everything they have always done and been successful doing due to the competitive pressures in the market. During this time, it is only natural and wise to take account of what you are doing and planning on doing in the future.

For example, consider an attorney who has held her own professional practice for 20 years who finds herself without the ongoing amount of referrals and engagements she is used to enjoying. At first it feels like a typical short-term problem but then, after several months of this situation dragging on, it begins to feel more serious.

The natural question to ask is, “Am I doing anything differently than I have always done?” And almost in all cases the answer is a resounding no. So what has caused the shift is the next logical question. In many cases it’s because this person has not changed or shifted strategies so they find themselves in a very negative position.

In Chicago where I grew up I witnessed first hand the total destruction of the Typographer’s Union as they picketed the Chicago Tribune who began installing computerized typesetting. The Tribune offered the union members the opportunity to learn computer programming and transition to new positions. Some took them up on their offer, but most did not preferring to picket in front of the Tribune’s building for several years until their money ran out and their union closed.

Product marketing companies and professional services firms are not used to making these types of transitions. Usually, they are in front of the market leading the charge and earning the rewards.

Today is different because everything and everyone is being examined regardless of their station or speciality. As you think through your options and perspectives, you will want to take a look at your company’s skillsets. Are they current or have they collected a bit too much sameness and dust over the years? First you will want to make sure you are being objective and then decide if it’s time for a new product or service or a new outright strategic approach.

This can be disquieting to even the most skilled professionals because they lack experience with failing. But remember, nothing succeeds like a failed strategy. What I mean by this is, it’s equally important to understand what is not working as it is to understand what will work. Usually, determining the cause of the failure will lead you to what will be a success