Radio Shack is Just About Gone – & Other “Powerful” Companies & Organizations & Institutions are in Perpetual Danger

End of Power…advocates of each can marshal a set of facts and evidence to make their own plausible and thought-provoking case.
Indeed, it’s striking how little consensus exists about the direction of change in our world and what threats we need to anticipate as a result—let alone how to deal with them.
Moisés Naím, The End of Power


Radio Shack looks like it’s about finished. Fully finished.radioshack-820x420

Oh, and I just read that Staples and Office Depot are in talks to merge. So, just a few years ago, we had three: OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples. Now, it looks like we will be down to one. (Yes, I’m aware that Amazon and Walmart are now competing in that space also).

I bought my first stereo at Montgomery Ward. I’m pretty sure I bought a half dozen products at Radio Shack over the years, including a radio/cassette player (probably what was called a “Boom Box” at the time). I haven’t been in a Radio Shack in…a decade? Longer?

The list is long.

Montgomery_Ward_(8672889003)Montgomery Ward – gone.
Radio Shack – about to be gone.
Circuit City – gone. (And, by the way, Circuit City was one of the exemplar companies, a “great” company, in Jim Collins’ best selling book, Good to Great).

I’m finishing my reading of The End of Power by Moisés Naím, which I will present this week at the First Friday Book Synopsis. It is filled with stories of formerly “powerful” institutions, in every arena, that are now much less powerful.

I don’t quite know how to think about all this. But, here are a few “reactions”…

#1 – Sometimes, large forces can impact every institution – forces way beyond the reach of one company or the company’s leaders. Thus…

#2 – Developing a genuine “big picture” view – meaning, knowing what is happening globally, in multiple (nearly all) arenas – is a view that every leader needs to spend more time cultivating. As Madeleine Albright once stated, “What matters anywhere matters everywhere.”

#3 – Every company, every institution has to build and execute for success today and tomorrow. No organization can live off of yesterday’s successes any longer. Power yesterday does.not.equal power today and tomorrow.

I think I’ll miss Radio Shack. Or, maybe, I’ll miss a world without Radio Shack. I probably actually quit even thinking about Radio Shack itself a long, long time ago.


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