This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago and toured the Sears tower at one time the tallest building in the world, no that is right the infrastructure that demanded over 4 million square foot of office space in the 1970’s is no longer needed. The history of the building was fascinating to read about and then visually see. Yes the architect was interesting and the building process the material, the engineering just stunning. What was most interesting to me was what caused the need and then the shift in the market that caused Sears and the building they built to reinvent themselves?
Perhaps I am dating myself but I remember growing up my mother’s favorite day was getting the Sears catalog in the mail. It must have been 500 pages with page after page of picture of goods to buy. Then the order fulfillment the picking and shipping of the world’s largest retailer took people and space. In the early 1970’s Sears corporation realized they had a very inefficient work process with office space being rented in 50 facilities all over Chicago? Hence , the consultants and computer programing determined they needed over 4 million of space to improve their business efficiencies. Today the Sears tower is named the Willis tower all 108 stories serve all of us as a reminder to stay close to our markets and customers because the market no long buys out of a 500 page catalog.
Post this photo in your office as a reminder to always be asking the following:
- What are our customers really motivated to buy?
- What is our current offering? Is it adequate?
- What do our competitors offer our customers?
- What do we do that our competitors cannot offer?
Remember this is not to put down Sears this is more about reminding us that as talented as we are and as good as we are if there is a shift in the market we will need to reinvent ourselves. Again, isn’t life and business amazing!
Human Relations Principal for the week:
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
The Willis Tower is a 108-story, 1,451-foot (442 m) skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois. At the time of its completion in 1973, it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years. The Willis Tower is the second-tallest building in the United States and the eighth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. The skyscraper is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago, and over one million people visit its observation deck each year.
Named the Sears Tower throughout its history, in 2009 the Willis Group obtained the right to rename the building, as part of their lease on a portion of its offices. On July 16, 2009, the building was officially renamed the Willis Tower. On August 13, 2012, United Airlines announced it will be moving its corporate headquarters from 77 West Wacker Drive to the Willis Tower.