Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
10 May 2017
Bon-Ton giving in to sheer insanity
I try keeping my finger on what is going on in the market place. Following a number of different industries I have noticed a disturbing, and expensive trend in business. Confusing personnel with strategy. Bon-Ton is the most recent offender.
What is that you may ask? In short, it is the expectation that the act of changing people will change outcomes.
“Retail certainly has a shitload of problems. Bon-Ton is not the only one stuck in the quagmire of this failing industry.”
Let’s consider advertising agencies, for example. There is a vicious circle of agencies being fired and rehired by a different brand in the same category. You see this all the time in the automotive and restaurant industry. Company A is not happy with its agency so it hires a new one just fired by its closest competitor. In essence, the constant rehash of old worn-out ideas and creative concepts that have already failed will fail again with the new company.
The fundamental strategy never changes. That’s goddamn insane.
Then there’s Bon-Ton
Or, consider Bon-Ton stores. It’s replacing its CEO. A little background. Bon-Ton has been losing money for six straight years, losing more than $60 million last year. Oh, and this will be its fourth CEO since 2012.
Retail certainly has a shitload of problems. Bon-Ton is not the only one stuck in the quagmire of this failing industry. Like the rest of the category, it passes the buck to some other poor sot to fix a problem he or she did not create using tactics that have already failed.
A simple change in personnel does not fundamentally change a damn thing. It doesn’t matter how many mechanics you hire. Your car ain’t getting fixed if you’re using the wrong tools.
This is the problem with the churn and recycling of people mucking up business today. With very few exceptions, these folks are still using the same toolbox as their predecessors.
Companies MUST understand that, in order to succeed or even survive, fundamental change must take place. That does not mean simply firing and rehiring the same people. Doing what you have always done and expecting a different result is, in fact, a sign of insanity.
Better to look for a new toolbox.
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