business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding the necessity for retailers in Inglewood, California, to avoid complacency in the wake of their defeat of Wal-Mart’s building plans there, MNB user Glen Terbeek wrote:

Isn't it interesting that retailers only react when there is a competitive threat? You often see a retailer remodel or expand a store only when a competitor is moving into it's market. Apparently, without the competitive threat, the store is performing just fine, at least in management's mind!

On the other hand, if each store attempts to be the best store it can be as defined by it's market's needs and potential; maybe competitors would go elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the majority of retailer's organizations, measurements and business practices manage to average store performance, rather than allowing each store achieve its market potential. Benchmarking to other like retailers only exasperates the problem.

Sounds like easy pickings for the bad guys!

We’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating.

Any retailer looking to re-engineer its company for 2004 and beyond needs to read Glen Terbeek’s excellent Agentry Agenda: Selling Food In A Frictionless Marketplace. Get it from…and see what the future can be.

Another MNB user wrote:

I think you used the wrong tense when you suggested “that the Inglewood retailers might get complacent.” The strength of the effort they marshaled to “outlaw” Wal-Mart demonstrates that they are already complacent. But I believe it’s beyond complacency.

During the 25 years I consulted with senior executives of Fortune 100 companies, I consistently found the single greatest impediment to future success was past success – especially among senior leaders who had “grown up” in the business. In the grocery industry, many of today‚s leaders successfully rose to the top of their organizations by employing the lessons they began learning while working as part-time courtesy clerks in their local grocery stores.

But it’s a different world today. What worked in the 1980s offers little opportunity to gain competitive advantage especially with Wal-Mart down the street. But what does a successful senior executive do? Take 25 years of tried-and-true beliefs and admit that they are no longer true? It is a revelation that is difficult to accept. I’ve seen the faces of leaders with that very dilemma suddenly realize they no longer had the fire to face this confusing new world. That’s when the possibility of retirement to the golf course begins to look especially attractive.

In response to our story about the USDA saying that a private slaughterhouse cannot test 100 percent of its beef for mad cow disease, one MNB user wrote:

What IS wrong with a company testing all of their beef if that is what they choose to do? Why, when a company wants to do what is best for the consumer would someone say 'NO' we won't let you? Is testing the beef and finding Mad Cow Disease BETTER than processing the meat and sending it out and THEN finding it? How twisted is this reasoning?

And another MNB user wrote:

Kevin, you are singing my song with your response to the piece about Mad Cow Testing. Fear of lost profits, the root of all evil in the meat industry is what drives them to bed with government agencies to keep testing to a minimum. The tourniquet needs to be twisted and not released until the meat industry and the government agree to test properly. Oh, and while we're at it, let's ban the manufacturing of feed that started the whole thing in the first place.

And, regarding our story about the million-dollar bonus and extensive and generous stock options granted to Kmart CEO Julian Day, MNB user Bob Vereen wrote:

Your item about Kmart's CEO getting a million+ options (the only one) and a similar story about Anthem's CEO getting $42+ million in bonuses and options makes me wonder about the lack of conscience of these people and others.

When businesses are suffering, as Kmart has, or are doing well, as Anthem is, why wouldn't these execs decide to put the other employees ahead of their own greed and decline the pay or allocate it to the rest of the "team." Most of these execs are tremendously wealthy already. How much money does one need?

Is "keeping score" better than being a helping hand to the company and its other employees?

Costco CEO Jim Sinegal gets criticized for putting his team first, which is the biggest crock we’ve ever heard. Sinegal is the best example of honorable and ethical behavior by a CEO that we’ve encountered…he ought to be a role model for anyone who runs a company.
KC's View: