Blog: Todd Palmer

Todd Palmer is our guest blogger this week. Todd founded Diversified Industrial Staffing, a company that provides staffing for manufacturing, construction and logistics businesses, and Diversified PEOple, a professional employer organization for small businesses. He sits on the board of directors for the Detroit Chapter of Entrepreneur’s Organization, and is a recent graduate of the Birthing of Giants class held at MIT. 

Check back each week day to read Todd's thoughts on keeping, identifying and attracting talent.

Life after the Big 3

When presidential-hopeful Barack Obama recently visited the Detroit-area, one of the main issues he addressed was the need for the large employers within the  Michigan economy to bring jobs back to the area. Political pundits can debate whether or not Obama was simply pandering to his audience by talking about restoring the Big 3, but it's obvious to me that's all most people around Detroit want to hear.

What people don't seem to realize is that our state's economy is in the rough shape it's in right now because of the Big 3 and their inability to adapt to a changing world economy. While sections of daily newspapers continue to be dedicated to watching every little development with these three companies, little attention is given to what else the state can do to recover without being dependent on them.

We're in a crisis, and when people are in a crisis they tend to panic and make hasty decisions without thinking about the long-term consequences. A lot of people are out of work, and it's understandable that their top concern is getting back to work as soon as possible. The problem is, if the government simply bails out the Big 3 or the car business picks up to the point of reopening plants, there's no guarantee this won't all collapse again in just a few years. The legacy costs for these jobs are just too enormous to be competitive in a global economy.

There's no reason to abandon efforts to repair the Big 3, but simultaneously we need to be looking at ways to remove our dependency on them. The old adages about learning from mistakes, and history repeating itself all apply, but nobody seems to be listening. The system has broken down and everyone has felt the effects. If we don't do anything different in the future, why should we expect different results?