Saturday, May 18, 2024

Good to Nice to Gone

I used to be as soon as a part of a management growth initiative (in 2019) that required partnering and collaborating with a third-party vendor, which delivered a 2-day management growth workshop.

This third-party vendor chosen a video (from a management growth consultancy) that talked in regards to the significance of tradition and showcased a CEO of a retail firm.

I used to be fairly interested in this CEO and commenced researching him. In the midst of my analysis, I found that he was let go from his function as CEO in 2014 attributable to his failure to assist the corporate obtain its monetary targets. What’s extra, the corporate’s revenues turned so dangerous that it was delisted from the New York Inventory Change. And regardless of being beneath new management, it filed for Chapter 11 chapter in 2016 (Novellino, 2016).

I shared with the third-party associate and my senior leaders what I had discovered. Extra importantly, I really useful that we exchange the video of the retail CEO with one other CEO. I identified that tradition is nice and each group needs an amazing tradition, however having an amazing tradition whereas not reaching monetary targets doesn’t assist the corporate “succeed” and is NOT a definition of what constitutes a profitable chief or firm.

This is an amazing instance. In his basic e book, Good to Nice (2001), Jim Collins praised Circuit Metropolis, highlighting it all through his e book as one of many “Good-to-Nice Corporations.” Circuit Metropolis would file for chapter in 2008.

“Because the late Nineteen Eighties Circuit Metropolis had been acknowledged by Wall Avenue and enterprise insiders because the best-run, best-managed, and most worthwhile specialty retailer of electronics and home equipment within the nation.” -Alan Wurtzel (Good to Nice to Gone)

“From 1982 to 1997, Circuit Metropolis’s inventory worth had outperformed that of the overall inventory market by an unimaginable 18.5 instances, much better than every other Fortune 500 firm for any fifteen-year interval since 1965. But simply twelve years later, Circuit Metropolis was no extra.” -Alan Wurtzel (Good to Nice to Gone)

Some causes for Circuit Metropolis’s demise included (Galuszka, 2008):

“. . . coming into into costly actual property offers, placing shops within the mistaken locations and forgetting core values of being the low worth vendor. The agency laid off its skilled gross sales workers after which laid off an excellent chunk of its higher-paid however much less skilled gross sales workers, leaving Circuit Metropolis with its lowest paid, least skilled gross sales workers, to not point out a raft of annoyed prospects.”

“Maybe the largest single failing was that within the early Nineteen Nineties Circuit Metropolis got here up with an excellent concept to promote used vehicles — CarMax. However the CEO on the time paid an excessive amount of consideration to attractive CarMax. When it was spun off in 2002, he left with it, taking with him a few of the most proficient Circuit Metropolis managers.”

Wick (2020) supplied the next snapshot of how Circuit Metropolis went from “Good” to “Nice” to “Gone”:


  • Inside 10 years, Wards turned a four-store chain (based in 1949 as Wards Firm, it modified its identify in 1984 to Circuit Metropolis Shops Inc.)

  • Complete gross sales: $1M per yr

  • Decrease costs than smaller opponents

  • Shops provided service incentives

  • By 1979, gross sales reached $120M


  • In 1987, annual gross sales reached $1B

  • Within the Nineteen Nineties, was largest client electronics retailer within the U.S.

  • Greatest performing firm on Jim Collins’ Good to Nice listing

  • Extremely motivated and well-trained personnel

  • Deployment of subtle point-of-sale and stock monitoring expertise

  • Skill to attach the stream of data amongst geographically dispersed shops

  • Detailed monitoring of buyer preferences

  • Fast response to altering developments

  • Implementation of 4S/5S enterprise mannequin

  • Rivals have been unable to copy their core competencies


  • Uncared for to improve and shield core competencies

  • Prime administration workforce was distracted by pursuing noncore actions

  • Laid off 3,400 of agency’s highest-paid gross sales personnel

  • Greatest Purchase recruited Circuit Metropolis’s high personnel

  • Greatest Purchase upgraded its core competencies

  • Filed for chapter safety in November 2008

“Greatest Purchase’s retailer and staffing fashions have been a greater match for shoppers’ altering preferences; as client electronics turned cheaper and extra ubiquitous, prospects not wanted or needed a salesman to assist them with lots of their purchases. Circuit Metropolis, alternatively, caught to its commission-based gross sales power and its reliance on high-margin merchandise, and watched Greatest Purchase take over its market share.” -Jessie Romero (2013)

“Shoppers have been saying loud and clear that they needed to buy in an open setting with gross sales help if, as, and once they needed it. They needed to have the ability to choose up a product and get out the door with out having to take heed to a gross sales pitch for a step-up product or prolonged warranties. Some needed gross sales help on sure merchandise. Some have been prepared to think about prolonged guarantee safety. However nobody needed to be compelled to take heed to a pitch.” -Alan Wurtzel (Good to Nice to Gone)

“Even if Circuit Metropolis was clearly dropping market share, the administration workforce neither requested itself what prospects actually need nor examined new methods that others have been discovering profitable.” -Alan Wurtzel (Good to Nice to Gone)

“Whereas gross sales and income grew and the inventory reached an all-time excessive in 2000, beneath Circuit Metropolis’s hood was an getting older retailer base, a failing advertising technique, an costly workforce, and an more and more out-of-date administration info system.” -Alan Wurtzel (Good to Nice to Gone)

“Because the mid-Nineteen Nineties, Circuit Metropolis administration and the board had not had a viable plan to stem the decline within the firm’s market share or the decline in its inventory worth. When, in 2005, the corporate obtained a takeover supply at $17 per share, 20 p.c greater than the present market worth, the board allowed itself to be persuaded by the administration workforce that they may magically reverse the slide and get the corporate again on monitor and the inventory to increased ranges.” -Alan Wurtzel (Good to Nice to Gone)

As Phil Rosenzweig (2007b) wrote:

“Within the quest to realize superior efficiency, executives typically depend on recommendation in enterprise books, articles, and enterprise college case research that declare to disclose a blueprint for gaining lasting aggressive benefit.”

“The analysis underpinning this recommendation, nonetheless, is usually deeply flawed and, worse, obscures the fundamental reality that success within the enterprise world relies on choices made beneath uncertainty and within the face of things executives can not management.”

“. . . the principal fiction on the coronary heart of so many fashionable enterprise books and articles [is] that following a couple of key steps will inevitably result in greatness and that an organization’s success is of its personal making and never typically formed by exterior elements.”

“The straightforward reality is that no components can assure an organization’s success, a minimum of not in a aggressive enterprise setting.”

“A central downside that clouds a lot of our eager about enterprise is The Halo Impact. Many issues we generally consider result in firm efficiency — company tradition, management, and extra — are sometimes merely attributions primarily based on firm efficiency.” -Phil Rosenzweig (2007c)

“How is the halo impact manifested within the enterprise world? When an organization is doing nicely, with rising gross sales, excessive income, and a surging inventory worth, observers naturally infer that it has a sensible technique, a visionary chief, motivated staff, glorious buyer orientation, a vibrant tradition, and so forth. When that very same firm suffers a decline—when gross sales fall and income shrink—many individuals are fast to conclude that the corporate’s technique went mistaken, its folks turned complacent, it uncared for its prospects, its tradition turned stodgy, and extra. In actual fact, these items might not have modified a lot, if in any respect. Fairly, firm efficiency creates an general impression that shapes how we understand its technique, leaders, staff, tradition, and different parts.” -Phil Rosenzweig (2007a)

“. . . if researchers start by deciding on firms primarily based on consequence, then collect knowledge by amassing articles from the enterprise press and conducting retrospective interviews, they don’t seem to be prone to uncover what led some firms to change into Nice. They are going to primarily catch the glow of the halo impact.” -Phil Rosenzweig (2007a)

“Does having “humble management” and “nice folks” result in success? Or is it extra seemingly that profitable firms are described as having glorious management, higher folks, extra persistence, and higher braveness?” -Phil Rosenzweig (2007a)

“We have to ask: “If we didn’t understand how the corporate was performing, what would we take into consideration its tradition, execution, or buyer orientation?” So long as our judgments are merely attributions reflecting an organization’s efficiency, our knowledge might be biased, our logic round, and our conclusions uncertain.” -Phil Rosenzweig (2007a)

Takeaway: Watch out when deciding on a case examine (i.e., profile of a pacesetter or an organization) and be particularly conscious of the present relevance through which the case/story/instance is offered. As an example, ask your self if this can be a particular person or firm that’s nonetheless value contemplating proper now. Be cautious of utilizing outdated case research drawn from fashionable, but outdated enterprise books or enterprise articles.

As Jim Collins (2009) acknowledged: “Each establishment is susceptible, regardless of how nice. Irrespective of how a lot you have achieved, regardless of how far you have gone, regardless of how a lot energy you have garnered, you’re susceptible to say no. There isn’t a regulation of nature that essentially the most highly effective will inevitably stay on the high. Anybody can fall and most finally do.”

Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.
Organizational & Management Growth Chief


Collins, J. (2001). Good to Nice: Why Some Corporations Make the Leap and Others Do not. Collins.

Collins, J. (2009). How the Mighty Fall And Why Some Corporations By no means Give In. HarpersCollins.

Galuszka, P. (2008, November 22). Circuit Metropolis and the “Good to Nice” Enterprise E book Conundrum. CBS Information.

Novellino, T. (2016, Could 6). What went awry at Aéropostale? It’s difficult.

Romero, J. (2013). The Rise and Fall of Circuit Metropolis. Econ Focus, Third Quarter, 31-33.

Rosenzweig, P. (2007a). Misunderstanding the Nature of Firm Efficiency: The Halo Impact And Different Enterprise Delusions. California Administration Overview, 49(4), 6-20.

Rosenzweig, P. (2007b, February 1). The halo impact, and different managerial delusions. The McKinsey Quarterly.

Rosenzweig, P. (2007c). The Halo Impact and the Eight Different Enterprise Delusions That Deceive Managers. Free Press.

Wick, D. A. (2020, July 6). Circuit Metropolis’s Classes (Good To Nice To Gone). Strategic Self-discipline Weblog.

Wurtzel, A. L. (2012). Good to Nice to Gone: The 60 12 months Rise and Fall of Circuit Metropolis. Diversion Books.

#Enterprise #ExecutiveCoaching #Teaching #Management #TrainingDevelopment

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles