These are turbulent times.
The retail and apparel landscape is shifting, old maps are useless, the consumer has changed their preferences and their path-to-purchase. The is future is unclear and we can barely see the other side. We are surrounded by troubled waters.
Our retail and brand partners are treading water.
To paraphrase “J.C.” Curleigh, there are only two reasons to tread water, survival… or fitness. I think they're treading for survival, and they're in distress.
As a lifeguard at Atlantic Beach, New York, I learned to beware of people treading water in distress. They reach out for you. They want to push themselves up and out of the water, by pushing you under. And, we can list many companies in these waters that have been pushed under, or are going under for the count of two...
We will not allow this to happen to our company, nor to our partners and associates. We have deep resources, great leaders, and a solid foundation. We are Buffet-wise, Buddha-wise and Bubbe-wise.
Randa has built a position of leadership, a reputation for excellence, and a platform for growth. Our partners need us. Now is the time to leverage our leadership to navigate the new landscape, and to build clear roads and strong bridges.
A Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Once our partners are saved from drowning, they will need a safer way to travel: treading water an inefficient use of energy.
When building a bridge, it's important to understand traffic, materials, weather and wind. It's important to have great engineers and great architects.
Honduras is a country often hit by devastating hurricanes. Tremendous and destructive storms that knock out bridges, create landslides and paralyze the region.
In response to a great need, some of the world's greatest architects gathered in Honduras to plan and build a bridge like no other - one that would stand up to the worst hurricanes. They studied every known materials tolerance, under every foreseeable stress. They studied ground water and gravel composition - and a bridge was built to withstand a 100-year storm. The bridge became the greatest architectural achievement in Honduras, and a point of national pride.
The ultimate test arrived shortly after the bridge's completion when Hurricane Mitch hit Central America - the most devastating storm in 200 years – a category 5, with sustained winds of nearly 200 miles per hour. Mitch dropped over 36 inches of wind-whipped rain on Honduras in less than 12 hours.
In many ways the architects and engineers were successful. The bridge withstood the storm with virtually no damage, an incredible achievement.
I have a photo, below.
The bridge survived in great shape... However, the storm moved the river, and wiped out the roads...
Peter Drucker, the famous management consultant, once said,
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently something that should not have been done at all.”Leaders know that it is essential to frame our tasks by asking the right questions, measuring the right metrics, gathering the right team, and listening for the right advice. Leaders are architects of choice.
Randa is 106 years old, we have weathered many big storms - a Great Depression, two world wars, and disruption to the retail landscape - more than once. Our company came through these events stronger, smarter, and more united.
We are a work in progress. Our company is founded upon the idea of constant new beginnings and the enduring belief that we can, and we will, remake ourselves to fit our increasingly larger dreams. *
The End, and the Beginning, of the Gold Rush
To borrow a premise from Jeff Bezos, some people compare the apparel and accessories business to “the gold rush.” - When you take the last nugget of gold out of the ground… it's all over.
It’s a matter of framing… In my dream, I see a goldmine in our industry too. However, it’s not actual physical nuggets we're mining... it’s ideas and inventions. When we take one idea out of the ground we often get two more as a result of that discovery.
Each idea, each innovation, each collaboration between our leaders generates more gold, and more success, for us all.
Invest in Talent
Randa has invested more in talent acquisition and development over the past 3 years than in the previous 103 years, combined. It’s no wonder that we invest so heavily in our talent - you are our most valuable intellectual property. We invest you today so that you will become our great leaders of tomorrow.
Come with me into the goldmine...
Make the commitment. Commit to make yourself a better leader.
And, I will lead you... And, you will lead me... and together we will mine nuggets and transform our company and our industry... and, our leadership will make our families, and our world, a better place.
What better place for our leaders to launch large dreams than Disney World - a place where dreams come true?
Excerpt from “Closing Comments” by David J. Katz at RMM, the annual Randa Managers Meeting; Disney World - Orlando, Florida, May 6, 2016.