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Prizewinning business journalist: Speed, change essential in company growth

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on June 1, 2018 at 5:40 PM

Written By Kim Mikus

Speed matters, as does a willingness to embrace new tactics and change in the workplace in order to grow as a company, award-winning national journalist Robert Safian told more than 500 business leaders Friday.

Safian has interviewed the most innovative CEOs in the country and shared what he has learned from stories he has written about them for Fast Company, Fortune, Time and other magazines. He was the keynote speaker at the annual Big Event breakfast at Marriott Lincolnshire held by Lake County Partners, celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Safian told participants the speed of change in a company is important. "Building a cadence of change" is key, he said, pointing to companies that have succeeded in this area, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon. "These companies are completely and continually redefining who they are. It's not just an online seller of books or a place for college kids to meet each other," he said. " These companies are pushing themselves and they're pushing each other in that process to continue to be more ambitious."

Safian recently started The Flux Group, a media, insights and strategic advisory firm, after overseeing Fast Company's print, digital and live-events content for the past decade.

Safian said innovation is key and people in the workplace must work together to make changes happen. "Innovation often happens in the gap between silos," he said. "We have to break down silos between the different parts of our business to be able to unlock those things" and find creativity and survive, he said.

Speaking of survival, Safian pointed to the father of evolution himself, "Charles Darwin noted that it's not the strongest of the species that survives. It's not the most intelligent that survives. It's the one that's most adaptable to change."

Several other speakers joined Safian during the economic meeting. Sumit L. Dasai, vice president and director of research at Mesirow Financial Wealth Advisors talked about the growing economy and important issues relating to the growth. Costco raising its minimum wage, intensifying the battle for unskilled workers in a tight U.S. job market, and the steel and aluminum tariffs were among the issues he addressed.

Jennifer Harris, president of CR Search Inc., presented the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem Talent Innovator Award to Lincolnshire-based HydraForce Inc., a manufacturer of hydraulic cartridge valves, manifolds and electrohydraulic controls. The 1,000-employee company has launched innovative programs to bridge the skills gap, Harris said.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor provided an economic update of the county.

Participants at the event said they were inspired by the speakers. "The key note was wonderful. One thing I picked up is that you have to be adaptable," said Cheri Richardson of Gorter Family Foundation in Lake Bluff.

"It was a great event with great ideas," said Lake County Board member Vance D. Wyatt. He said he picked up that business owners must find ways to reinvent themselves and adapt to change.


Categories: Lake County Board