In Failure Avoid Six Letter Words

The business social media world is much abuzz about the failure of Target Canada. Without any actual data, it is hard to get a handle on the cause of the failure, though empty shelves as a supply chain is often mentioned, as well marketing errors and expanding too fast. Here is a good discussion on the subject from Wharton which features a Canadian Professor Dr. Barry Prentice on the failure:

So imagine you are Canadian employed in Target’s Supply Chain about to be laid off.  With very few exceptions you are probably one of the people responsible for executing a strategy that was clearly flawed. You can easily imagine in the break room or local bar the failure being discussed. Two six letter words you might hear a lot are: stupid and idiots.

These words work well if you are Hollywood script writer writing a sequel for Dumb and (6 letters long) Dumber.   In the business world, remarkably few people set out to be stupid and idiots. It is the easy way out by declaring yourself smarter than them.  Ultimately though, it can not lead to future success.

While failure is bad in and of itself, it is also remarkable opportunity to learn. Here the virtue of curiosity should be your focus. Focus on learning why the supply chain failed and why business decision makers choose a faulty course.  Your gained knowledge will be of value to yourself and potential future employers.

Many times bad choices are made as result of poor processes. In a different process environment maybe the the bad choices might not have been made. Sometimes poor processes are the fault of poorly chosen software. Other times, it is a result of failures in company culture. Most often in a combination of both.

The learned lessons of failure, many times are the catalyst to a future success.



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