Edit ModuleShow Tags

A half-caf, nonfat strategy


Published:

Taking a hard right with your strategy is a harrowing experiment. Just ask Ron Johnson and Bill Ackman, JCPenney’s former CEO and his previously supportive board member, respectively, who’ve both been bounced out of the company. Reed Hastings at Netflix also understands this, but so far he’s been relatively successful.

The difference between the JCPenney and Netflix stories is fascinating. Both companies realized their business model would no longer work (see JCPenney and Netflix). Both charted a new course, both required dramatic change and both initially lost many customers. Netflix recovered. JCPenney didn’t, at least not yet — and I don’t like its chances.

I think Johnson, who’d previously run Apple’s retail stores, was probably courageous, as is Hastings (see Courage). I don’t want to oversimplify this, because I don’t believe the JCPenney strategy was thought through as well. However, it’s also entirely possible the difference was because Netflix was all in while JCPenney caved in.

When business demands that you take a hard right, you can’t waiver. If you’re like the woman in front of me at Starbucks today — unsure about the size, caffeine dose or foam — you won’t have a shot at success. My favorite coffee shop calls a decaf, nonfat cappuccino a “why bother.” A close cousin of “why bother” is “I can’t decide,” like the strategy embodied in the sign below. Specialists in… everything!

When a fast-approaching brick wall confronts you, there’s no guarantee that a new direction or strategy will be successful. But it’s certain that if you do the same things, you’ll get the same results. Hope is not a strategy. Make a choice and give it the time and energy it deserves!

Edit Module
Todd Ordal

Todd Ordal is President of Applied Strategy LLC. Todd helps CEOs achieve better financial results, become more effective leaders and sleep easier at night. He speaks, writes, consults and advises on issues of strategy and leadership. Todd is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000. Follow Todd on Twitter here. You can also find Todd at http://www.appliedstrategy.info,  303-527-0417 or todd@appliedstrategy.info

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

If you played ball as a kid, you won't like this

Let’s clamber into the time machine, sports fans, and punch in the coordinates: Tuesday afternoon, June 1971, a ballpark near Arvada’s Allendale Elementary. Back then, most kids played ball. Or at least it seemed that way.

This $100,000 Lexus will make you feel like a million bucks

The truth is this: There is nothing economical about this vehicle. It is a pure indulgence, plain and simple, but it is one of the most magnificent vehicles I have ever driven.

Colorado Companies to Watch 2016 explore new frontiers

Given the state of parking in any big city, it’s tough to believe there are actually more than 100 million parking spaces nationwide. The problem, Parkifi founders Ryan Sullivan and Rishi Malik discovered, was a lack of data.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment: