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The Survival Guide: How not to be the next Blockbuster

Blockbuster was the giant movie lending chain that we all loved, so when it went bust it left a lot of people shocked and confused. How did such a huge, thriving business get into such difficulty so quickly?

It’s not a story that’s entirely unique either. Many of the big corporate companies that were a sturdy and reliable part of our consumer experience growing up are struggling to keep up with the modern demand. 

We’re taking a look at the lessons you can take from the tale of Blockbuster and other retail giants who have gone under, in order to avoid being the next to get the chop.

Future Proofing employees

Technology and business moves quickly. As such, entire industries can change dramatically in the space of a couple of years. To an extent this is what happened to our beloved Blockbuster.

Movies, TV, and general consumption moved online and Blockbuster didn’t have the people behind it pushing it to evolve with those trends. It’s not their fault – after all, they weren’t aware of the changes that were coming, and hadn’t been upskilled to deal with the challenges that they were about to face.  

To avoid your employee going in blind when tackling new business challenges, it’s essential that you future-proof employees by offering them access to real time knowledge that evolves as the world does. It’s no use training your employees with yesterday’s facts and figures – they need to be aware of what is going on right now with a platform that delivers real time insight. 

Growth mindset 

A growth mindset is the idea that with learning and development anyone can become better at specific things. Instead of believing that we are fixed beings that can’t change, a growth mindset believes that we are able to grow and evolve.

A growth mindset is essential if you want your business to succeed as new challenges will always arise that require new skills. Pushing your employees to believe in their ability to change and improve is vital to a business’ health and will allow you to adapt in a changing market.

An amazing example of a company who have adapted a growth mindset in order to stay competitive is AT&T.  In order to adapt to new challenges that they are facing as a business they are making a retraining effort. 

Instead of looking for new talent (that will cost them a fortune) they are looking to their own people and believing in their ability to upskill and develop.  They are spending a whopping $1 Billion in upskilling their workforce that aims to reeducate 100,000 of their employees by 2020.  

Continuous learning cultures 

In the past, most businesses worked on the model that you trained employees to do a job and let them get on with it for the next 30 years. Nowadays, this method just doesn’t work.

The working world is evolving so quickly and in order to keep up, a continuous learning culture is essential, as mentioned above. Moreover, employees are more passionate about learning and development than they have ever been before, so if you want to keep your best people, you will need to develop a continuous learning culture.

Sadly, Blockbuster didn’t develop this culture and as a result ended up going bust. As Greg Satell notes

The irony is that Blockbuster failed because its leadership had built a well-oiled operational machine.  It was a very tight network that could execute with extreme efficiency, but poorly suited to let in new information.”

When we cling to the old, and don’t develop continual learning cultures, we fall behind. This is one of the biggest lessons that any of us can learn from Blockbuster’s demise.

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