You Want Change, Sit in the Same Office

On Monday, Lands’ End announced that its CEO had “stepped down” effective immediately, after only 19 months on the job.

There will be plenty of time for all the post-mortems to be written and dissected. However, I will chime in right now about a glaring aspect of Federica Marchionni’s abrupt departure.

It seems there was a serious disconnect between what she wanted to accomplish and where she was physically located. And that provides an important lesson reminder.

Credit: Lands End

Credit: Lands End

As background, Ms. Marchionni was tasked with evolving the company and the brand. Note this statement from the Chairman of the Board when she was hired:

“We are confident she will build upon the Company’s legacy as a classic American brand with a keen eye toward its future as a global lifestyle brand.”

That implies change. According to The Wall Street Journal, “she tried to fashion broad changes at the catalog retailer.” But: Continue reading

Duke’s President Offers Actionable Philosophy for Life and Work

Credit: Duke University.

Credit: Duke University.

It was a really pragmatic gift, but maybe tough to appreciate at age 18.

In his welcoming comments to the Class of 2019, Duke University President Richard Brodhead dispensed some wise philosophy.  He encouraged the new students to adopt a set of profound and powerful life and work ideas that are applicable to all of us.

Brodhead’s address, titled Building a Life at Duke, was themed off the massive construction and renovation underway on campus.  It provided an apt metaphor for his message.

I’ve culled and organized Four Key Takeaways.

1.  Expect Change & Embrace Where It Can Take You

If you want to make room for a new, improved version of yourself, you will have to tolerate some disruption— of your personal habits, of your preexisting networks, even of assumptions that once seemed certain. Disruption is not fun, but it is the opener of possibilities.

> I agree about the importance of disruption as a positive change enabler.  Focus on where it will take you.  It may be more fun than you think. Continue reading

Penney Pushes Change. What Can You Take Away?

Source: J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney’s new CEO, former Apple executive Ron Johnson, boldly proclaimed the retailer’s plan to become “America’s favorite store” in a major presentation to investors yesterday.

I’m not a student of J.C. Penney and who knows if this new strategy will lead to profitable growth.  Retail is TOUGH.  But, after reading the initial news report, and then watching Johnson’s presentation, a few points really stood out to me: Continue reading

The Basics Aren’t Sexy but Help Get the Right Things Done

Powerful, effective ideas don’t have to be based on fancy jargon or complex theories.  The basics often work quite well.  That’s the major takeaway from the short book:  Plugged: Dig out & get the right things done.

It’s in the same genre as two other books:  Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life; and Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions.  All three books created short, fictional stories and characters to dramatize and illustrate ideas and principles about business, leadership, change and collaboration.