“We expected better results” Dumb Ass Stupid Management

This morning’s papers reveal that Macy’s, Sears, and Barnes & Noble are all experiencing slowdowns, with extreme measures being taken by the first two (closings, layoffs, divestitures). One Macy’s executive commented, “We had expected better results.”

In what world would you expect better results from old-time, brick and mortar operations with no zest and no appeal? On those occasions when I’ve been in a mall with a Macy’s,  it is always the dullest, most depressing of all the large stores. Sales help is few and far between and totally uninterested. The displays are uncreative and unappealing. The entire environment seems like a “going out of business sale.”

Newspapers, retailers, and bankers keep rending their garments and trying to pull another nickel out of every customer (bank fees are as pathetic today as airlines charging for overhead space). This is due to horrid management, stupid strategies, and a refusal (or inability) to appreciate the seismic changes in demographics, technology, and wealth distribution.

Unfortunately, it will be the investors and employees who get crushed, while the executives keep eating in their private dining rooms and fingering their severance packages, while expecting better results.

This is a failure of leadership so massive that no one realizes the wall they think they’re leaning against is an elephant. And it’s about to relieve itself.

© Alan Weiss 2017


2 thoughts on ““We expected better results” Dumb Ass Stupid Management

  1. Alan, I always read your DASM articles with interest. I also am an advocate for providing great customer service. In fact, the bar is so low in most industries, that it takes so little to provide better service than the competitors. (Unfortunate, but true.)

    My burning question for you is: Do you ever contact the executives of these companies to talk with them about your services? If so, what is your approach?

    Thanks for all your insights about how businesses could function better.

    • I usually contact the top person on-site, although I often write to a CEO. I never offer my services, since then my intent sounds self-serving. Most of the people provide lip service only, or delegate the issue to an underling, or ignore it. That’s why we see such crappy service, because the leader is encouraging it through her or his inactions (or wrong actions). It is not difficult to “run” an operation. But it is difficult to continually improve and grow one, and even easier to undermine one. Marriott has mortally wounded Ritz-Carlton. Bentley has made a huge mistake with the Bentayga. For every Wells Fargo and VW scandal, there are a dozen more being kept hidden, consuming huge resources that would otherwise go to growth. Ironically, prosperity, which we now enjoy, makes this far easier and doesn’t create more pressure on senior management. You do get far better reactions when you’re considered a top customer: top levels in travel clubs, in Amex, and so on. I’ve received personal calls of apology when I go through those channels.

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