Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been one of Honda’s biggest fans—and most loyal customers—for almost 30 years. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I won’t go into them here because this isn’t about Honda as much as it is about what is or might be happening to my prime supplier of four-wheel transportation and why this matters to PDD and its clients.
From time to time, I look at images of Hondas and Acuras, current and in the offing, on the Internet (I’m not in the market. I’m just curious.). This morning, as I mused about what is and what might be, I stumbled across an article by Dave Mable in Car and Driver in May 2012 entitled Why Honda is In Even More Trouble Than You Think [Deep Thoughts].
I’d been wondering whether I was the only Honda owner (actually, it’s an Acura EL) who thought Honda’s styling was, well, blah. So I started reading Mable’s article. In the fifth paragraph, he referenced author Jim Collins who, among other things, contributes to the Harvard Business Review and other business journals. In the article, Mable uses “the five stages of demise in the world of modern business” Collins wrote about in his book How the Mighty Fall to describe what happened to General Motors and what Mable believes is happening to Honda. For the record, the United States Department of the Treasury has begun to sell off the remaining shares of its stake in GM. It bought the shares as part of its bailout of “Government Motors”.
On a related matter, Bloomberg Businessweek (May 6 – May 12, 2013) appeared in my mailbox yesterday. On the cover, in large print, is this question: “What do you call 176,000 lawyers lying at the bottom of the ocean?” The answer, in very large print, is on Page 52.
Why no answer here?
To entice you to do what PDD people do a lot: read things you might not ordinarily read. I didn’t go looking for these two stories as such. They just happened to be there. Or, if you prefer, they came looking for me. If you follow the trail I’ve just left for you, you’ll (a) learn something about Honda that could possibly influence your decision to approach them looking for work or in response to an offer of employment; (b) learn something about GM that could possibly influence your decision to approach them looking for work or in response to an offer of employment; (c) learn about Jim Collins, what he thinks about, and how you can apply that when looking at companies you might be thinking about approaching looking for work. (Hint: read the excerpt from the article he wrote for Businessweek in 2009.)
This is how we begin the process that nets us the deep intelligence we use as the basis for discussions with our clients about how to select and leverage postsecondary education, what to look for in evaluating the risk associated with working in Industry A for Company B instead of Industry C for Company D, and whether or when it might be time for you to be looking for greener pastures. You’ll also find it in how we advise our clients about formulating and executing job search and negotiation strategy.
To find out more, write to Neil Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905.273.9880.
PS: If you like cars, here’s something Acura’s been thinking about.
The “instinct code” in our DNA protects us from consuming food or beverages when things don’t taste or smell “right”. It’s what pulls our hand away from a hot stove in less time than it takes for the thought to form. It raises our heart rate to ensure that enough blood will flow to our muscles if we know or think that a physical threat is nearby.
These things the body does instantaneously because the potential consequences of delay are obvious and painful. Literally.
The body doesn’t respond quite so quickly when it comes to go/no go decisions about reactions to real or perceived social or business threats. The normal anxiety caused by factors that challenge without necessarily threatening life or career isn’t uncomfortable enough to warrant instant decisions. We may lose a few nights sleep over not being able to decide between a silver or black SUV, but no one will be hurt and our retirement won’t be in jeopardy. Our internal “wiring” lends itself to drawing out all but the most critical, deadline-based decisions. Like accepting an offer of employment—or not accepting it.
Our DNA hasn’t caught up with how quickly economic, business, social, technological or political change can happen. We have no defence against earthquakes and hurricanes. We don’t ship with built-in systems that tell us why they’ve starting monitoring a particular sector of the economy or the political circus and are accumulating and analyzing data. Or that thresholds are close to being reached. As currently configured, homo sapiens sapiens acts only after the lights start flashing and warning bells start ringing as situations go from good to bad to worse, or vice versa.
No one told Mother Nature that situations that change so slowly that they’re barely perceptible are worth worrying about until it’s too late, on the plus side and the minus side. With all due respect to Ms. Nature, Personal Due Diligence is far more circumspect. We tell our clients what we’re monitoring because we’re monitoring it for them. The earthquake that struck Japan in 2012 destroyed or severely damaged plants that supplied North American automobile manufacturing facilities with parts. Having nothing to build, shift workers in Canada and the U.S. were laid off. In the wake of the Kobe earthquake of 1995, a major source of supply of computer screens was crippled. Banking misdeeds and miscalculations in the U.S. in 2008 threw large parts of the world into recession.
PC manufacturers have been slow to recognize the customer appeal of tablet computers and Intel is paying the price. Despite recent analysts’ upgrades on RIM, the BlackBerry maker’s future is far from certain. The same fate may be about to overtake Microsoft: early indications are that Windows 8 isn’t exactly setting the world’s heart aflutter. According to Gartner, IDC and others, PC shipments continued to soften in the month following its launch.
PDD is wired internally to respond with flashing lights and ringing bells about what’s changing, but ours go off far enough in advance to allow you to gauge what’s changing, how fast and what that could mean to your current and future income and standard of living. We don’t presume to tell our clients what careers they should pursue, what job offers they should accept, or what education they should buy for themselves or their children. Those decisions belong to them. But we do believe that forewarned is forearmed.
Eating food that’s well past its best before date is no guarantee of indigestion. But at least it’s good to know that you have the choice before you swallow. And you’ll sleep better.