Don't Let It Happen To You!

Last Update: Oct 7, 2018

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There is much talk about disruption and chaos in business and last week there was one bit of news that was not a shock but disappointing, and the report was that Sears Holdings had become a penny stock. I must wonder when the stock delisting will occur much like the delisting of General Electric.

Again, I believe this is not news to anyone but how could a company that was too big to fail become a shadow of itself during the 21st century and not takes advantage of the signs of business disruption and chaos. Unluckily, it would appear they will go the direction of Circuit City, Mongomery Wards, Toys R Us, and others that did not make the adjustments.

I am guilty of not using Sears since they stopped producing catalogs that you could estimate seasons with and K Mart lost my business when they canned the Blue Light Special. These two items are what caused me to hold a grudge against both companies, and once they combined, I knew it was just a matter of time before they would need to roll up the sidewalks one last time.

It is amazing how these companies we have fond memories of were solid performers and the home of many subsidiaries and products. Many of them have been sold off or discontinued over time to allow Sears and K Mart to have the cash flow to once again restructure.

• Products we grew up with and have fond memories include:
o Toughskins clothing
o Winnie the Pooh clothing
o Thom McAn Shoes
o Kenmore Appliances
o Die-hard Batteries
o The SteadyRider Shock Absorber
• Products and subsidiaries we grew up with and have sold off or discontinued include:
o Lands End
o National Tire & Battery (NTB)
o Allstate
o Discover Card
o Craftsmen Tools
o Borders Books
o Walden Books
o Builders Square
o Office Max
o The Sports Authority
o Blue Light Internet

In the meantime, Sears and K Mart continue to close stores so they can reinvest in the remaining stores and restructure to prevent the house of cards from falling in, but it is doubtful these actions will save these two prosperous companies on the brink of failure.

You may say that all brick and mortar will disappear so this should not be a shock but if brick and mortar are failing, why is Amazon investing in this area? Sears did not open up stores until after World War One.

Others indicate that being an everything shop type company with a catalog is a thing of the past but what is Amazon other than an everything shop type company with an electronic listing of products.

Developing devoted customers was perfected by Sears and K Mart and guess what Amazon has replicated. Yes, developing dedicated customers.

Increasing market presence by expanding into insurance, car repairs, and similar ventures was a method Sears, and K Mart used to embed themselves in everyone's home. Amazon has Amazon Prime, Kindle, Whole Foods, and is using similar ventures to make themselves critical to each of us.

When I started this article, I talked about disruption and chaos and how it was imperative that businesses use these issues to not only become more competitive but to dominate markets if possible.

Amazon has utilized the same methodology Sears, and K Mart used but twisted it slightly to meet the disruption and chaos of the internet, smartphones, etc. Incredible how Amazon started out selling books and look at what has happened.

Sears and K Mart knew they had to change and were experiencing the disruption and chaos so why did they not act? It is sad when you start at the bottom of the mountain and make it to the top without the possiblility of being thrown over a cliff.

So how does this impact us? We should always be looking at how to take advantage of disruption and chaos in both our professional and personal lives and takes steps to turn these challenges into something constructive.
Disruption and chaos seem to happen more often when you are fifty plus going on fifteen, and I enjoy a good challenge. Remember, you can meet every problem head on by going over, under, around or through it.

How do you deal with disruption and chaos?

Do you have any examples of disruption and chaos that you dealt with positively?

Thanks for visiting my site.


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Recent Comments


Business have to adapt. Sears closings hit close to home for me. My Dad sold Kenmore appliances for Sears his whole was the only place we shopped. At that time, employees took part in profit sharings so it promised a good retirement plan. Unfortunately....the value started to drop just when my dad was retiring so he list a lot. This proved to me that we can't depend on others for our security....we have to create our own security...and WA is helping us do this.

Debbie, so true about providing for ourselves and having backup plans. Thanks, Jay

Hi Jay, I was a small engine mechanic for Sear's Canada for many years. They came along an closed service in 1995 an centralized everything. I got transfer to another location an hours drive from my home. After 3 years I quit and found another job. 2 years after that, they reopened service in my hometown so I moved back. 4 short years later we were closed for good. I think in Canada when Sear's quick there service contracts, customers quit shopping. Sear's Canada closed up shop completely across the country. Before that happened the CEO took a big bonus. Once the business closed all employees lost their pensions. It does not surprise me that they are closing in the States. Sorry about the Sear's rant, it was my favorite job and company to work for, and such a sad ending.

Mary, I predicted it when they stopped the catalogs because I was a believer and that shot my dedication to sears. Sorry about the pain for all of the Sears and Kmart employees. J

Hi, I enjoyed your article, it's so true there were super brands that were giants in their times but refuse to change.
We have to change and take advantage of what this century is giving us.
Thank you for the advice.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Agree with your comments. Change is key to success. J

Thanks for sharing, Jay.

Thanks. J

No problem.

Another one bites the apocalyptic dust!

Mike, if you cannot adjust, you go away. J

I love the way you came full circle in this post. You came back to the point that we need to keep our world changing with the times.

Thank you. I enjoyed this good read.


Laura, thanks and without change comes extinction. J

I have had Alot of those, especially the unexpected ones can be very overwhelming but you find strength by taking each day as it comes and being strong enough to make tough decisions having a future in mind..

Hi and thanks. Tough decisions are the key. J

Hi Jay,
I hate to see Sears stores closing, I’m still a supporter of Kenmore appliances, Craftsman tools and Diehard batteries!
But you’re right, once they stopped publishing the Christmas Wish Book it was all over..
Thanks for the memories.

KyleAnn, oh the memories and you could buy anything and have it shipped to you. Thanks for stopping by. J

I was sorry when Sears closed. I worked for them almost 14 years as an auto tech.

It is terrible since you could always rely on Sears.... Thanks for stopping by. J

Hi Jay very informative, I was just thinking about Kodak, they kind of invented photography for us common folks and they just disappeared. I guess it is about recognizing times are changing, and that the current business model is not working and having the courage to do something about it.

The same goes for us in our online journies if it is not working or we are not getting engagement we need to make and create change.

At the end of the day, it is about being relevant, to our customer's, readers and the marketplace.

Thanks for the timely reminder with the festive and gifting season just about upon us again

Alex, thanks for stopping by and it is all about recognizing the need to change and taking steps to change. The last third party company I worked for competed with Kodak in the microfilm market for checks and they did not change but we did. the world is changing... Thanks again, J

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