When he decided to drive such dramatic change to the point where his customers said no! The recent announcement of Ron Johnson being pushed out at JCPenney is another example of an organization losing sight of who their customer is and why they shop with them.
For someone like myself who has driven significant change in organizations, I have to admire what he tried to do, but in the end, he went too far with too many changes all at once. I can understand his challenge, but when driving change, one needs to consider the degree and pace to ensure adoption – by not only the customer – but internally as well. JCPenney needed to revitalize their brand in the market and address their declining sales, but should they have done it in a way that exceeded their customers’ expectations verses alienating them through revolutionary change that they couldn’t identify with? It is a shame that the experiment ended so quickly, since their new format stores do provide an updated and exciting shopping experience for the budget minded consumer. It’s just that people have little patience for a company where sales decline 25% in a single year. It will be interesting to watch whether the new (prior) CEO has the vision, the appetite for risk taking, and the personnel to execute what needs to get done and turn this once great retail brand around.