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Let the Bloodletting Begin

Well that’s an uplifting way to ring in the new year and new decade! Every year we encounter more and more retailers sending the first salvo of the ‘New Year’s Business Mortality’ results. “Over 9,300 store closings were announced in 2019 up nearly 20% over the previous record store closures in 2017, according to Business Insider. The number of store closings this year could be even higher with estimates from real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield as many as 12,000 major chain store closings in 2020. With 2020 only one-week old, retailers have confirmed at least 1,700 stores slated for closure this year, according to the Business Insider analysis.”

Certainly, we attribute the fall of what we formerly called ‘traditional retail’ to a new model and a (r)evolution of buying goods and services at our fingertips. Are we seeing the end of brick & mortar stores as we know it?  Retail isn’t the only sector affected and it’s a matter of time before the meatball falls off the dinner table. You have one choice as a leader or THE leader – adapt or die! The mantra of shareholder value for the last four decades has worn itself out, become tiresome and most importantly less relevant than three generations previously. Gone are the days of ‘favorably adjusting the balance sheet’ via eliminating or reassigning employees. Hey, but ’employees are our most important resource!’ Anyone else want to call bullshit on that one? Gone are the days of duplicitous leaders spewing garbage-laden, management-weasel-speak like some charismatic fop bloviating ‘refocus and redeploy critical assets.’ We’re ALL tired of the PC crap – STOP already!

The time to pay that debt is overdue and many markets are seeing the ill effects of repeated failures, overblown egos and ignorance.  We studied the same (r)evolution in the 80’s of how the Westinghouse, WorldComm, Enron’s fell asleep at the wheel believing their own press as ‘Master’s of the Universe’ without true meat-on-the-bone solutions to the most pressing and complex challenges faced. Karma’s a bitch and she has no deadline!

“Do you have what it takes to stay the course of change or will you bail out of it to protect your ego?”

The last thing any highly-educated, highly successful legacy or emerging leader needs moving into a new era this decade is believing that sustainble success is a given – lest you wake up one morning wearing a tee shirt inscribed ‘ I was kidnapped, drugged and left for dead’ in Mexico…and Epstein didn’t kill himself. You’ve read enough crap over the past two weeks about 2020 as the decade of vision, a return to the roaring 20’s, etc. to the point you’re numb to the droning messages. I wasn’t a star history student, but I do recall a devastating financial crisis at the end of that decade. Well, here’s your Adapt or DIE Toolkit to get you through the next 12 months plus 12 months:

What is your Big Opportunity?

For three decades, we’ve been an executive’s advocate for shaping and influencing culture and strategic change. If there’s two things we’ve learned is the top leader must go first; then to engage employees they must made an integral part of the process and a part of the higher purpose for your organization. Those two critical success factors depend on one mission – what is the big opportunity your business MUST DO to be successful AND to sustain that success. The window is only open for a short while. Do you have the capability and the capacity to take advantage of the opportunity? Click here to take a brief self assessment to see where you are.

What Obstacles Are Too Often in the Way?

I heard one CEO explain her obstacles this way, “…we’re moving along just fine and then [we see] a squirrel races across the road…and what does my team do? They chase after the damn thing every time!” Your barriers to sustainable change and thus success may not be as clear cut as hers were, but if you’re not prepared to address the root cause of those problems in your unique situation, then you’re destined to fail before you get started. And, you just asked the question, then why bother? Go reread the first paragraph of the article. You have a choice to make. Answer 8 questions to see if you’re up to the challenge.

How-to Replicate What Works & Avoid What Doesn’t Work?

While the point seems a bit elementary, too few companies and too few leaders follow through with this simple, powerful and practical insight. What’s missing in the above question? In our experiences, we’ve witnessed one powerful influence – stress!  Stress promotes fear in all its iterations – fear of the unknown, uncertainty, doubt and disbelief; not to mention the scar tissue you and your employees have gained over the years of failed and/or mildly successful changes that have gone before them. You either have the will and the want-to or you don’t. My uncle was famous for saying of his own son, “that boy’s got a lot of quit in him.” Sadly, too many executives will sacrifice a favorable change for the pain of something that’s a known quantity. I can give you countless examples and stories of both the good and the bad. It’s likely you don’t need to belabor the point.

Accelerate Into the Curve

If you’ve every experienced the thrill of a being inside a race car, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Just prior to entering a curve there’s a slight decrease in power, then the driver intentionally gives the car more gas, more acceleration and centrifugal force and downdraft pulls the car faster through as it hugs the curve. The same holds true for business – every business. As you experience small wins with change, you press-in further, faster and accelerate the growth and/or performance to the next stage of successful change. No one will change for change sake. People will change when they see they can work with less effort, higher quality, in a healthier environment, dealing with less bullshit and deliver on expected results and in some cases better than expected with stronger relationships across the organization.

Build & Sustain Momentum

The natural (r)evolution following acceleration is maintaining your momentum. You’re increasing credibility and can improve systems, structures and policies that were once slowing you down, crippling your efficiency and effectiveness.  You do have people who relentlessly pursue change until the vision is a reality. We’re alongside your people engaging them faster giving them the permission to take calculated risks and readily influence change within the scheme and scope of your unique situation. This is where the right people doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons deliver results you must have with the strongest relationships.

Passion is translated into palpable energy, support and enthusiasm inspiring your people to be their best and have a desire to deliver their best. More is Possible when leadership embraces the critical nature of opportunities before them. From increasing responsiveness, efficiency to business performance, more is possible when you organize yourselves, create a sense of urgency across the organization where visible success accelerates a movement.

You have choices and options on moving forward. The questions remain the same, and they too, involve your ego. Do you have what it takes to stay the course of change or will you bail out of it to protect your ego. The Elegant Leaders – the ones who lead with Voltage – are comfortable in the gray where data is often times incomplete and more often dirty. You’ve seen you can’t do it alone and maybe now’s the time where you’re ready to admit enough is enough. FIND OUT MORE…

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