How keeping an eye on the business page each day can pay big dividends

It is easy to become distracted when managing a large group of employees. But leaders who fail to keep an eye on what’s ahead in the midst of the daily decisions put themselves at substantial risk.

The staffing industry, which I have called home for more than 20 years, is a cyclical business. It can be a roller coaster at times, and much of the success in staffing is directly related to the economy.

A look at merger and acquisition activity serves as a good barometer of whether or not the economy is bouncing back after a recession. As summer began, M&A activity spiked, not only in actual transactions, but also in inquiries.

There has already been $786 billion worth of M&A activity in the U.S. through the month of June, according to Dealogic. That’s up over the past few years and not far off from the total for all of 2007, the last “big spender” year.

A good barometer

M&A activity tends to lead to growth in the staffing industry because transitions can be hard for all parties involved. Both pre- and post-close can prove to be tricky, with multiple moving parts and people involved. Corporate cultures need to mesh, as do revenue and expense synergies. These transitions can push companies to lean on temporary staff and add on support staff to handle each end of the transaction.

If you were in the staffing industry and thinking “bigger picture,” it would be beneficial to watch these markets and look out for potential needs in these transactions. Focus on a macro level and remember that you aren’t operating on an island. Train yourself to watch the markets to learn about opportunities before they pop up in the public eye.

‘Knowledge is power’

This is a very old saying from Sir Francis Bacon dating back to the late 1500’s, and yet it still applies today. In fact, the way that information is so readily available today, it becomes very important to learn about trends and things happening in the market as quickly as possible. In addition to gaining the knowledge, you also have to be nimble enough in your business so that you are prepared to act quickly. Otherwise you may lose out on an opportunity because you weren’t ready to move.

Be open to the fact that being ahead of the game and learning about an opportunity from an M&A perspective may have a major impact on your existing strategy for the near- and long-term future. I embrace change daily in my role and expect my executive team to do the same with both their respective teams and myself.

This mindset helps to frame my outlook when making decisions. And on the local level, my branch managers learn from the example set by the executive team and myself, and start to think about their own business in a different way. When I have each level of management focusing on the bigger picture, my job becomes that much easier.