When was the last time you thumbed through the Yellow Pages? I mean The Real Yellow Pages—the ones that are printed on paper and published by the phone company. Was it yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year? If you are under 30 years old, the answer may be…never.
A recent WSJ article started with, “The phone company is selling its phone book” (WSJ, 3/9/2012, Anton Troianovski & Gregory Zuckerman). And why shouldn’t they? Fewer and fewer people use it. There are more and more cell-phone-only people (more than one out of four). It’s expensive to print and even with recycling, the paper used requires millions of trees to be cut down and who knows how much water and power it takes to make the paper.
Generally, I’m partial to reading off of paper, not a screen. I have a Kindle that I use for casual reading, but if I’m in to something serious (like Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs), I want a real book that I can hold in my hands, and I like to turn real pages, not hit a button. But the truth is I can do without the yellow pages, the real ones or otherwise. Google is just as easy to use and company websites are a lot more helpful than a 2”x4” ad.
AT&T is making a smart business decision. They understand the world they are operating in and aren’t trying to hold onto a dying heritage of landlines and phone books. For the sake of their shareholders (I’m not one), I hope they are successful in selling it. If they can’t sell it, sooner or later they will just shut it down or start charging a fee for it. Like it or not, free printed phone books are going…going…gone.
In my almost-weekly posts, I talk a lot about the pace of change in our world and how it is affecting everything. Why? Because I see too many organizations that are going…going…gone and either don’t know it or won’t do anything about it. There is very little chance that what got you to where you are, will keep you there for another ten years. The reality is, you may have only a few years left…or months.
If you are the leader, it is your job to steer your business or church into the future. So put your hands on the steering wheel and get to it. No one else will do it.
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© Copyright 2012 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner