Bailing doesn’t fix the hole

So often it seems that when we find ourselves or our organization in trouble, we pounce on the safe, the familiar, the obvious, while ignoring the root cause.

When I was an executive at Sears I remember how senior management spent the better part of a year working on ways to close stores, slash expenses and prune unproductive product lines. Much of this needed to be done–and we had been through this sort of exercise before–but the overwhelming reason that we were sinking was not because our expenses were too high, but rather because our sales productivity was abysmal and our growth potential was non-existent. Bailing doesn’t fix the hole.

Today, driven primarily by the growing influence of e-commerce, leadership at just about every retail brand is struggling with “right-sizing” their overall store count and determining how big–or more accurately, how small–their stores should be.

Again, this can be a worthwhile endeavor. Yet for many retailers the reason they feel compelled to take an axe to their retail footprint has more to do with a weak value proposition than it does with having fundamentally too many stores or because individual locations can’t be productive at their current square footage. For some, closing certain locations and scaling back the size of existing units will only serve to accelerate their decline. Bailing doesn’t fix the hole.

Eating better and getting regular exercise beats any binge diet.

A customer lost is almost impossible to win back.

Brands can rarely can cost cut their way to prosperity.

As it turns out, prevention is better than remediation.

Eventually we need to address the root cause of our lack of buoyancy.

Of course that presumes we don’t run out of time.






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