Last night the Miami Heat absolutely destroyed a San Antonio Spurs team that looked like they shouldn’t have even been on the court. Maybe that’s because according to all of the preseason stats and punditry it should have been the Los Angeles Lakers? But when the Lakers lost to the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs their season ended. In sports, as in business, the best laid plans don’t always work out as expected.
Last week I spent four days playing eight rounds of golf in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with 19 other guys. That is 144 holes in just over 96 hours. Before you ask the question the answer is yes! Yes, we are absolutely a little crazy! We are also equally passionate about the game of golf. Through this marathon of golf I noticed that something happened to us all when we are playing. On the golf course, just as in the office, we were adjusting to our environment and influencing each other’s behavior.
My article titled To Succeed in Business, Act Like a Child got published on The Washington Post – On Small Business Blog today. In the article I describe how if we want to encourage innovation in business we should follow the examples set by our children with their creativity, ambition, and fearlessness. As we get older we lose our tolerance for risk-taking and failure. We become conditioned to mitigate risks to preserve our wealth and egos. But there are ways that business leaders can promote risk-taking and failure: 1) intentionally hiring risk-takers, 2) creating policies that retain innovators, 3) purposely addressing risk-taking and failure, and 4) demonstrating transparency.
A couple of nights ago I was catching up on The Daily Show episodes and was watching Jon Stewart’s interview with Sheryl Sandberg (Part 1 and Part 2). If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and the author of the new book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. During the interview Sandberg was suggesting that women need to not be afraid and lean in and to break the stereotypes by being more assertive. Let me begin by stating that I have not read the book yet and although I plan to read it, the book hasn’t made its way to the top of the stack yet. Overall I think that Sandberg raises some great points and I agreed with her on 99% of her argument but I think she missed one giant piece of the puzzle.
It seems like everyone is jumping on the Ron Johnson “failure” bandwagon the last few days. Being that he was a fellow hometown kid from Minnesota and having earned his retail chops at Target Corp I had followed Johnson’s tenure at JCPenney pretty closely over the last 17 months. When Johnson and his team launched their “Transformational Plans” for JCP back in January, 2012 I had watched the entire 93 minute presentation. I thought the presentation was articulate and very well thought through. Interestingly enough just last month I had overheard my wife commenting to a friend how she had stopped into one of the newly redesigned JCP stores and really liked it. That was the first time that I had heard her praise JCPenney in at least 10 years. Her friend had responded that she too had visited the store and really liked it. Having spent most of the last decade in retail I am always a little leery of the “sample-of-one” but two suggests a possible trend.
So last week the MattHunt.co Blog officially turned six months old and I wanted to offer a quick thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement along the way. It will be a busy next few weeks in January with a couple of events and a slight redesign to the blog (there will be more details coming shortly).
The king of conservative retail, Target Corp, just had a rare sighting… a failure? While Target might not be the most conservative retailer out there they certainly wouldn’t be considered a big risk taker. In fact, just two years ago Target announced they were taking the huge leap into “international” retailing. If you are keeping track that was a full 20 years after Wal-Mart opened its first international store, Mexico City, Mexico, in 1991! Well, we are still waiting for the Target Canada stores to open in March/April 2013 but Target’s recent partnership with Neiman Marcus has officially been deemed a failure. See Time’s recent article titled Epic Retail Fail: Where Did the Target + Neiman Marcus Collection Go Wrong?
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