The industry of today is not the industry of yesterday; it moves so rapidly that what happened just recently is almost “old news.” While some industrial companies are embracing the change, others are more resistant to the shift in business. Correction: Not the companies, but the people behind them. If companies ran themselves, no doubt they would be doing what is necessary to succeed. In an industry so rich with history, there can be an understandably expected resistance to change. Change can be difficult. Yet, change has always been around.

From the beginning of time, there have been evolutions in work opportunities and how this work is done. The battle of machines, practices, and the employed people has persisted for generations.

A 1958 magazine said, “We are stumbling blindly into the automation era with no concept or plan to reconcile the need of workers for income and the need of business for cost-cutting and worker-displacing innovations.”

Thanks to the internet and e-commerce where efficiency and customization are in-demand, industrial companies are taking a look at their supply chains and manufacturing processes in order to meet customer expectations. At least, the hungry and aware manufacturers are on top of it.

Meanwhile, companies elsewhere are resisting change and look fondly on “the good old days.” Yes, some machines are still around and, yes, many traditional practices should always be implemented. However, it becomes dangerous when companies and especially their employees resist the evolution. The danger lies in holding the company back and potentially negatively impacting business. 

A recent article in Industrial Supply magazine titled “Dealing with Nostalgic Employees” delved into addressing this issue and what can be done. Author Jason Bader shares an anecdote about an employee of a company he coaches. Once the two got started talking, the employee opened up the flood gates and a rush of frustration came out.

The employee mentioned everything that was wrong with the company and his supervisor. Yet, the company had just completed its most profitable year to date. Despite the flourishing company, the employee’s performance was down. He blamed it on his decreasing customer base, not even considering that the problem may have been him.

See the issue?

As multi-million dollar CEO and entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, says: “Never be romantic about how you make your money.” With times changing so rapidly, you simply cannot afford it. Yes, maybe you just invested in a practice, but now even that is out-of-date. That happens, it’s to be expected which is why anticipation of the future is so important.

Last year (2016), the fastener industry witnessed the most acquisition deals completed over the last nine years. An increase in acquisitions is a scary thing. It is very possible that this number will only continue to rise. What will you do about it?

Will you be the company who succeeds or will you be the employee baffled by your shortcomings? Will you refuse to see the truth? Will you permit the “nostalgic” mindset to hold you back?

Find a solution to your unwavering employees who relish the good old days and resist where you’re heading. It is an issue that cannot be ignored because you’re moving forward, not back. 


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