This week’s focus: As someone who has worked with many of the UK’s leading retailers, it has been both interesting and depressing to see the recent decline of the likes of Toys R Us, Carpetright and Maplin.

All of these retailers have operated in difficult markets, but, as Darwin put it, the evolution race is won by those who are most able to adapt. Unfortunately, these companies were slow off the blocks, showed little acceleration and had no finishing kick in that particular race!

The only way to adapt is to try new things. This means you must have a deep willingness and desire to learn and an ability to innovate. It means accepting the small risks of project failures so that you avoid the big risk of corporate failure.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And yet the even simpler lesson is that these once large and successful retailers were unable to learn, innovate and adapt.

I don’t know these organsiations, but I’d guess that managers were more comfortable ‘fixing’ operational issues – trying to get the most out of the current business – than they were developing and testing new, innovative ideas that might not work.

Who are the heroes in your business, ‘fixers’ or ‘innovators’? One thing’s for sure: the only route to lasting success is to embed a genuine desire to learn, test and grow at the heart of your organisation and to make ‘innovators’ the heroes of your company.


Off The Record: My Hero by Foo Fighters

There goes my hero

Watch him as he goes

There goes my hero

He’s ordinary


© Stuart Cross 2018. All rights reserved.