Crisis Management

Four Remarkable Quotes

25 Feb , 2013  

There is a terrific article in The Wall Street Journal today about J.C. Penney. It is worth reading. Here are four noteworthy quotes from the story.

 

“We didn’t test at Apple.”

Apparently this was CEO Ron Johnson’s response when asked if he would consider testing a radical pricing change at J.C. Penney before rolling it out.

There are just two problems with this comment. First, J.C. Penney isn’t Apple. Second, Ron Johnson isn’t Steve Jobs. When you are considering a major business move it is always good to study and test the idea. You have to use the results carefully, since people don’t always know how to evaluate innovations, but getting customer input helps.

J.C. Penney went forward with the proposed pricing change and results were dismal.

Apparently Steve Jobs didn’t do a lot of testing. From that we can conclude that Steve Jobs didn’t do a lot of testing.

 

“I hated the J.C. Penney culture. It was pathetic.”

This quote is from J.C. Penney chief operating officer Michael Kramer, a former Apple executive.

An observation: it is always easy to criticize a company but calling your employees pathetic is not a smart way to build loyalty and enthusiasm.

 

“That’s not a sale. It’s an in-season mark down or a new lower price.”

Revenue at J.C. Penney dropped like a stone after the company eliminated sales. Not surprisingly, J.C. Penney is now running sales. Only Ron Johnson, quoted above, won’t call them sales, which is a little odd.

 

“No, of course not.”

This is Ron Johnson’s response when asked if he would have done anything differently at J.C. Penney.

The comment indicates Johnson has trouble recognizing when he made a mistake. The first step in delivering better results is realizing when things aren’t working. Johnson’s comment is not a good sign.

 

It isn’t surprising that the team leading J.C. Penney’s turn-around has struggled to date. Making radical changes without testing, criticizing a team and refusing to admit mistakes are not leadership best practices.

 

*    *    *

The second edition of my book Breakthrough Marketing Plans is now available. The new edition has more and updated examples. The core concepts remain. You can find the book on Amazon here:  http://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Marketing-Plans-Wasting-Driving/dp/0230340334/ref=dp_ob_image_bk

 

 


One Response

  1. Laura says:

    Not good…there is value to getting your customer feedback.

Leave a Reply

Archives

Conversation Across the Site

  • timcalkins { Thanks for reaching out. I would be happy to learn more about your research...this sounds like an interesting framework. My email is t-calkins@kellogg.northwestern.edu } – P&G's Risky Brand Strategy
  • Víctor Temprano { From the University of Valladolid (Spain), We are conducting a research on brand deletion success. We present a holistic model on brand deletion decision, comprising... } – P&G's Risky Brand Strategy
  • emitahill { Excellent advice. So glad you included the bit on charitable donations. Not the place to cut back. } – Financial Advice for Graduates
  • Ken Templin { Excellent Tim. You keep it simple and easy to remember. Your advice is also a good reminder to those who graduated in years past. } – Financial Advice for Graduates
  • Coreyblake9 { Wonderful post, Tim. Thank you for sharing such loving energy! } – Financial Advice for Graduates
  • davetuchler { Petco apparently has the same philosophy - - quick decisive action after a very unfortunate screwup. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/06/05/petco-apologizes-colby-dog-death/28536717/ } – Houlihan's Recovers from a Brand Stumble
  • Read more Comments »

Collaborate with Tim

Tim helps companies around the world build great brands. To schedule a program or event click here. To learn more about Tim’s books, click here.