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The Achiever Newsletter

Peopleopoly - Do You Have It?

By Harry K. Jones

It never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn from a newscast, magazine, or newspaper. A little research and some common sense can go a long way in learning valuable lessons. For instance, consider the following news releases from the past few months:

Chicago-based Montgomery Ward plans to shut its doors for good putting 28,000 employees out of work. They will close 250 stores and 10 distribution centers by the second quarter. Serving customers for 128 years, they revolutionized the retail industry with their catalog and the first-ever formalized payment plan. Last year, in an apparent attempt at an image make over, the retail giant removed the "Montgomery" from its store name and made plans to invest $180 million to remodel half its stores. I personally don't think either move would have solved its problem of disappearing shoppers. This strategic plan obviously failed to attract the customers needed for survival.

In a related story, Office Depot, the world's largest seller of office supplies, is closing 67 of its 825 stores following a financial review that targeted "underperforming stores."

In addition, after posting soft holiday sales, Sears, Roebuck and Co. said it would close 89 underperforming locations.

Century-old K-mart has filed for bankruptcy, plans to close a growing number of stores, and continues to struggle as they attempt to compete. Retail experts seem to agree that this one-time retail giant is fighting a losing battle.

Reading these news reports might lead one to believe that the retail industry is facing hard times. Apparently Wal-Mart leadership was too busy to read these stories. They recently unseated Toys R Us as the biggest seller of toys and will, by the end of this year, unseat General Motors as America's largest company!

These news items lead me to January's cover of Fast Company Magazine. They call the lead story "Peoplepalooza *2001" and kick it off with the following bold but true statement: "Yes, you'd better rethink the Web. Sure, the stock market looks scary. But the best leaders know where all great companies start. [It's the people, stupid!]"

While there is much truth in what they proclaim, I found the "stupid" comment a bit harsh. Consequently, for our seminar and keynote purposes, I merely coined a new phrase — "Peopleopoly."  Simply defined, it means: "The attainment of dominance in your chosen field resulting from realizing the full potential of each and every one of your people."  It sounds simple; it can be achieved and those who do will benefit greatly in a variety of ways ... employee satisfaction and therefore retention, customer satisfaction, increased productivity and profitability, etc.

It's enough to make one wonder which of the above companies believe that the retail industry is in dire straights and who believes in the importance, education and development of their people! What do you think?

Publication Date: Winter 2001
Updated: Winter 2002

motivational speaker Harry K. JonesHarry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services.

Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management

For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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