More mature, More measured, More meh.

“The more mature the company, the more measured the change mentality.” – Ron Johnson.

One of the best things i’ve watched recently is an interview with Ron Johnson, where he talks about his failure at JC Penneys. JCP said they wanted to change, but as he met the leadership over time, it was soon quite obvious that change was not on the agenda.

But he was bent on creating something. Bent on shocking the bureaucracy into change, riding on his Target and Apple waves of excellence; but it ended up being too much – for everyone: The board, shareholders, everyone around the table, basically. And even though he doesn’t say it, i believe even himself.

There’s a point where you realise you can’t fix this. It’s not about the leader, the client, the board; it’s about you, the follower, the consultant, the agency and realising the need to let go and let them have what they want. He advises to let them be what they want to be and not be the person trying to drive a change they’re uncomfortable with. Typically, this manifests with larger corporates, institutions and systems, governments included.

As a creator/creative/agency, you’re looking to really match your values wth your clients’ values. That’s the only threshold to find fulfilment. The alternative is teeth gnashing frustration. You’ll never get to do great work if there’s not an atmosphere that embraces it. Nobody knows where greatness will come from, but we do know that a desire for it is crucial. We know guts are needed, a passion to be more, better, greater and a commitment to it on all levels. And you can quickly tell when none of that is on or around the table. Change is a process, often a long one. but if you’re going to dedicate your efforts to seeing that process through, it’s only in your best interest and sanity to ensure that the ingredients are there to embrace it when it comes.

“if you don’t want change, you don’t want a change agent” – Ron Johnson.


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