In a recent speech to business leaders in Atlanta, Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO, said today's leaders need to look beyond quarterly financial reports and other backward-looking indicators and focus on the pace of innovation in their industries and the diversity of their customer base.
She emphasized that decisions to move in new directions will often need to be made sooner rather than later. As an example, she cited HP's decision to buy Compaq in 2001. This was done amid a slowing economy that ground to a halt on Sept. 11, a week after the announcement. She compared that decision with Kodak's delays in accepting that the photo industry was going digital.
"We made the hard moves in time, so by the time the economy started to pick up again, we were a different company, and that was clearly reflected in Hewlett-Packard's long-term success," she said. "Kodak made the move too late."
Stock-photo industry leaders need to take her advice to heart.
Not only is the industry faced with "going digital," but as a result, it is experiencing dramatic changes in its customer and supplier bases. The early adopters and adapters to these changes are likely to be the eventual winners in a changing media landscape. The procrastinators may well end up like Kodak.
"If businesses only look in the rearview mirror, they will miss the season of change," Fiorina said.