From being the industry giant in the 1980s and 1990s, Toys R Us is now about to be extinct.
What mistakes did the leaders make and what can we learn from their misfortune?
One big mistake made by companies that succeed and eventually fail is that their leaders believe, “We’ve made it!” Then they stop paying attention to the importance of change. Before long, they dive into a death spiral.
Most people simply don’t like change. General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, US Army, reportedly once said, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
After reviewing this article, I would agree. It seems Toys R Us didn’t manage change well at all.
Regardless of how well you, your business, or your business unit is performing, never think you’ve “made” it. You have to deliver results through constant, continuous change no matter what.
Look at your business or business unit, then ask these few questions:
- Are you quick to fix or shut down under-performing areas? – If not, you should be. They can drag you down and limit your growth.
- Does your succession planning position you for seamless leadership transitions? – Consistency in leadership is critical for staying focused on the culture, values, and strategies that have been established.
- What game-changing actions will you take in the next six to twelve months to improve your customers’ experience? – What works today needs to improve tomorrow. Think technology, think loyalty creation, think paths to success.
- What products/services do your customers want to buy from you in the next six to twelve months? – Be proactive, not reactive, in developing them.
- What products/services do you provide today that your customers either won’t want or won’t pay for in six to twelve months? – Don’t spend time and money on products/services that only please a few.
- Is senior management in touch with the changing competitive landscape? Don’t let senior management get out of touch with your customers.
- Are you asking the right questions to the right people? Don’t fall into the “comfort zone” trap as Toys R Us appeared to do.
One thing you must never do: Believe that your organization has “made” it.