You have heard me say from time to time that companies get into trouble due to denial and perseverance in a period of change. I’ve also noted that it’s typically not the founder or executive who’s been in charge for a long time who can fix the problems.
Their perception of the organization, relationships with the people (employees and other stakeholders) and, ultimately, responsibility for the problems, or at least for not addressing them effectively, makes it difficult for them act as a change agent. Often even recognizing, until things get really tough, the need for the change is hard. The arrogance that successful entrepreneurs justifiably have (or they would never have succeeded in the first place) can get in the way as well.
I’ve written about a number of brands in our industry, including Abercrombie & Fitch, that has had these issues. Today, I came across this article in the Seattle Times that does a good job of laying out how A & F got in trouble and how the board of directors dealt, and is dealing, with it. It is, I think, instructive.