One of my favorite leaders is a gentleman by the name of Myron ‘Mike’ Ullman. He was recently “rehired” by JC Penney to clean up the mess the former Apple executive made. Here’s a great link that talks about what went wrong with JC Penney the last few years.
Reading that really makes you think, doesn’t it? How could Johnson have been so arrogant to not talk to his existing clients that were spending billions of dollars with him each year? I know, you may be thinking it’s hard to relate to that but business really is business, folks. Big business screws up in the same fashion small business does. Keep that in mind. And while you think about that and wonder if the “new old” CEO can fix that retailer, look at this photo of him I came across in The Wall Street Journal several years ago on a Segway in one of the JC Penney stores.
When I first saw it, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that Ullman was an arrogant CEO who couldn’t walk around his stores because he was too much of a “big shot.” I did some investigating and found out the two reasons that he was on that Segway: 1. He’s on the Board of Directors of Segway; and 2. He can’t walk long distances, due to a neuromuscular condition that was diagnosed in the 1980s. So riding on that Segway gave him some independence and allowed him to have conversations with employees eye to eye. This man is a leader in every way, shape and form. I have read a lot about him and I am hopeful I get to meet him some day. In the meantime, I’m going to be watching JC Penney and I will go in there and buy some stuff and tell others to as well. Maybe I can help him pull the place out of the rut they’re in, in a small way. I like helping good people.
Read more about him on this link.
Think about your leadership and how you are running your own company. What can you learn from what Johnson did at JC Penney? What can you learn from what Ullman did the first time around? And what will we learn from what Ullman is about to do?