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ISA President at Annual Meeting: 'Embrace Change'

May 17, 2011
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Change was a theme during the Industrial Supply Association's annual meeting and product show this past weekend in Chicago.

ISA President Kathleen Durbin, CEO of General Industrial Tool & Supply Inc., told attendees during the opening session that they cannot let the economy drive their businesses. "We must do that," she said.

In addition to economic challenges, the industry has seen a lot of change over the past decade. She said that companies can ignore, react or embrace change. Those who ignore it won't survive; those who react will always be a step behind those who embrace it. She said that if you embrace change and reinvent your business, success is likely.

Another speaker homed in on change during the opening session. Bob Prosen, author of Kiss Theory Goodbye: Five Proven Ways to get Extraordinary Results in Any Company, told attendees not to be content with the status quo. As illustration of the dangers of that attitude, he referenced quotes from historical figures. Here's two:

  • "Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote." – President Grover Cleveland
  • "There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom." – Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics in 1923

We know how those two situations turned out. Prosen said that if you see change happening, "do something about it." Great companies change before they are forced to. "Don't get caught in the status quo," he said.

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