5 lessons for men from Ron Johnson and JC Penney

I agreed with nearly everything I heard about Ron Johnson at JC Penney and was surprised to hear he was fired.  Here are five takeaways.  

  1. Your relationships don’t change overnight.  Johnson was trying to change JC Penney from the coupon and sale retail version of Willy Wonkas into the Apple of clothing and home but those customers didn’t want to switch.  Even if he was right it was all done too quickly. It’s the same for you or me.  If we want to change things with our wives, co-workers, or friends it will take time.  
  2. You can’t get in good shape overnight.  I’ve been more than guilty about thinking I can run four miles the first nice day of spring.  Guys think about doing a hundred push-ups or running three miles only to hurt ourselves because we moved to quickly. It’s process and we need to respect that it takes some time.
  3. Johnson was confident.  Apple is the most respected retail brand at the moment and Johnson had an air of confidence that he could succeed, else why leave Apple.  When I’m taking care of our daughters it’s easy for me to take a few bad moments and let it ruin a day.  I need to forget these bad moments and remember the really good ones I created.
  4. It’s hard to start new things.  The JC Penney board didn’t give Johnson enough time to see his project through.  This is true for any project, from running a company to assembling an IKEA dresser.  Doing anything challenging will take time and you need to commit to it.
  5. Unless you don’t and it’s time to quit and learn.  A lot of people in technology talk about failing quickly to learn from the experience.  As a parent this is really easy, we can try many things and cherry pick from what worked and what didn’t.
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