If you’re expecting an article about the Jersey Shore, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Not too long ago, I received my 40th annual physical. After many years of getting a clean bill of health, this year I got to have the official “it’s time to start regularly exercising” talk. Mind you, my waist size hasn’t changed in sixteen years, and my blood pressure is always normal, so it really hasn’t been a huge priority for me. That being said, I’m not immortal and my muscle tone is starting to go the way of Wagyu beef. If I want to maintain my normal level of fitness, it’s going to take a little more effort than occasionally easing off sweets. If we want to stay strong to keep moving forward, we can’t just focus on one element.
Like the human body, business is a complex machine of moving parts, all working at the cellular level. We can’t just expect to work on one element without addressing a myriad other related and interconnected systems. If I were to tell you today that I plan to get physically fit by just doing bar curls at the gym, you’d probably think I was just kidding. If you were into physical fitness, you’d laugh in my face. I’m sure I’d get dysmorphic Popeye arms, but it wouldn’t help me run faster, have more stamina, or address my dad belly, at least not as compared to a whole body workout. Having “swole” arms would be nice, but I’d like to still be able to button my pants.
Many retailers go through this same problem. If we take for instance Toys “R” Us, we can see that having a ton of advertising, strong branding, and a gigantic inventory isn’t enough. Hiring and retaining good people, having toy demo areas, and addressing ancient facilities never came for the House of Jeffery. They hedged their future, went into crazy debt, and never received the anticipated cash flow to make it all work. Sounds like a few car people I know.
As a business, you can’t consider pouring more resources into one element of your enterprise without addressing all of the other parts that support it. Committing to new technology tools without training is a waste of resources. Committing to a new process without management accountability is…wait for it…a waste of resources. Committing to increased advertising spend without a measurable campaign or a target market is just an absolute #%&@ing waste of resources. When it comes to digging graves for a living, those giant biceps might come in handy.