Posted by Julian Sammy - 2016-06-02 10:08:00


This week the topic is Target utterly failing to expand to the Canadian market. This huge retailer set itself up for disaster. They fell victim to cognitive biases, successfully avoiding opportunities to avoid failure.

Each week, Kevin Brennan and Julian Sammy talk about organizational change failures and failures to change. They explore doomed attempts to adapt to our changing world, what was messed up, and how disaster could have been avoided. They connect ideas that don't seem related at first glance, reframe the problems, and consider strategies and mindsets that you can apply in your organization.

Show Notes

We covered a fair bit of territory in half an hour this episode. The video on YouTube illustrates why "beta" is still attached to the episode title: between my voice and audio quirks, there are a lot of little jump cuts. If you're listening you'll never notice, however.

Broadly, the topics covered included Target:

  • breaking their brand promise,
  • failing to implement a workable supply chain system (IT and logistics),
  • trying to do far too much at once,
  • lacking the capacity to realistically assess their progress and risks, and
  • falling victim to the strengths of their corporate culture, since these are also weaknesses.

You will also find a few ideas about how to structure a leadership team to engage the slow system, and some ways to reliably and productively raise risks without stigmatizing or ostracizing the people who are trying to help by raising a red flag.

Links and References

We don't mention all of these in the show, but they do form the base materials for our understanding of how and why Target failed.


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