How was your 2016 work-wise? Mine was good - not great, but when you really stop and look back at the accomplishments, there's a lot to be proud of. I'm sure you're in the same boat - the world moves so fast it's easy to feel overwhelmed and small.
One of the things I got done was the creation of a Change Management training module for managers of people. It's called Change Agile, and weaves traditional change management theory with Agile software development principles to create an approach to change that allows managers to engage their teams to brainstorm and come up with ideas on the best path forward given a challenge or problem.
Why is change on my mind?
As part of that course, we have a factoid on Google - who seemingly has an insurmountable lead in the search business, right? Well, change happens and smart people in great market positions are paid to be paranoid. Here's what former Google CEO Eric Schmidt had to say about potential threats to Google's search business in 2014:
"But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon. People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon . . .
If you are looking to buy something, perhaps a tent for camping, you might go to Google or Bing or Yahoo or Qwant, the new French search engine. But more likely you’ll go directly to Zalando or Amazon . . . last year almost a third of people looking to buy something started on Amazon — that’s more than twice the number who went straight to Google."
That was part of a speech in Germany, and undoubtedly was PR based as Google has had a lot of problems with European regulators in the past couple of years.
But OMG - was he right about Amazon being Google's biggest threat to the company's search business. Check out these stats from Business Insider:
"According to a survey by the financial services firm Raymond James, more than half of people start their search for online shopping on Amazon now, while only 26% use search engines like Google as the starting point.
Perhaps what's more concerning is that the search engine's share has been cut in half compared to 2014, while Amazon's share has significantly increased over the past two years."
Wow. Here's a chart that shows the decline over a 3-year period:
And since most of the money from search comes from ads on the side of your search results, this would seem to be problem.
If you're an HR leader, being progressive about threats and change needed to deal with the threats - even when you don't know the answer - is a great way to look like the leader you are.
If it can happen to Google, it will happen to you.