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In a January Business Week article, L. Kevin Kelly, Heidrick & Struggles forward thinking CEO, predicted that over the next five years, only 50 percent of the Firm’s billings will come from executive search.

There are probably more than a few thousand search “consultants” who will scoff at the prospect of such a transformation of an industry, which for more than 50 years has thrived on the same exclusive “white shoe” business model.

In addition to search consultants, I imagine that major consulting and law firms are at the ready to absolutely reject the trend as well, whistling as they walk by the graveyard. I concede that their point of view is perfectly understandable, especially when all seems well…at this moment in time.

Then again, how many among us successfully predicted five years ago that The New York Times would be forced to borrow millions from a Mexican business tycoon just to avoid bankruptcy; that the Christian Science Monitor or U.S. News & World Report would be forced financially to move exclusively to digital web-based editions?

For most people, such a tectonic shift is beyond uncomfortable. The real question is not whether sweeping, gut-wrenching change is coming, but how creative are we in meeting customer needs.

For professional service firms, of which JohnMarch is one, the old rules of marketing and business development have left the building, right behind Elvis. There is something terribly exciting about change. Perhaps it is the unknown. Perhaps this is an opportunity to be creative.

I like the possibilities. I am excited to think of new ways to help clients find the best talent while reducing their overall acquisition and turnover costs.

Hey, Elvis, wait up.

John G. Self is Chairman and Senior Client Advisor of JohnMarch Partners. He is a Co-Founder of the Firm.

A former investigative reporter and crime writer with more than 30-years of healthcare leadership experience in public relations, national marketing, business development and as Chief Executive Officer of hospitals and consulting firms, Mr. Self is highly regarded for his keen insight into operations, business culture and for his ability to consistently select the right leaders.

You can contact Mr. Self at 214.220.1234 or He is an active member of Linked In and a frequent editorial contributor.

Or, you can follow him on Twitter at Self_JohnMarch.

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