Taking a business in a new direction is difficult, and the larger the business, the harder the undertaking. For an institution like the Postal Service with over 600,000 employees and 31,000 retail offices, it can be especially daunting.
Disruptions in the consumer market are forcing USPS to move in a new direction. As its customers become increasingly focused on packages rather than letters, the Postal Service must adapt to a disrupted business model. Luckily, there are a wealth of examples, both from government and private business, that the Postal Service can learn from as it charts a course through new waters.
In our new paper, How Institutions Change, we look at public and private organizations that have adapted to disruptions in their traditional business lines and identify lessons that could be useful to the Postal Service. The paper looks to learn not only from successes of organizations but failures as well.
The first focus of the paper is Amtrak and how it navigated changes in strategy while balancing its dual roles as a private company and a public service. A lesson from Amtrak? Clear communications and fact-based business cases are helpful in presenting change to the public and stakeholders.
Next, we looked at how technology brought a fundamental disruption to the video rental industry, and how Netflix and Blockbuster faced vastly different experiences in developing new strategies. Finally, we look at traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, as they searched to provide new consumer experiences to maintain relevance with the growth of online retail.
There are unique challenges in this situation. As the Postal Service looks to roll out its 10-Year Plan and other strategic initiatives, it has to consider different stakeholders, such as Congress, its regulators, and the mailing industry.
What do you think? Are there other businesses or industries that can provide lessons for the Postal Service?