Would You Miss the Gap?
In their book MAVERICKS AT WORK, Bill Taylor & Polly LaBarre include a very powerful question every company must ask itself. And given its sluggish sales and uncertain future, it’s a question Gap must answer today to better prepare for tomorrow. That question is …
“If your company went out of business tomorrow, who would really miss you and why?”
Bill & Polly go on to further explain why people might miss a company …
“Because it’s providing a product or service so unique it can’t be provided nearly as well by any other company. Because it’s created a workplace so dynamic that most employees would be hard-pressed to find a similar environment somewhere else. Because it has forged a uniquely emotional connection with customers that other companies can’t replicate.”
So … if the Gap (and/or its Old Navy & Banana Republic stores) went out of business tomorrow, would any of us care? Does the Gap provide such a unique product and customer experience that we would be saddened if it didn’t exist? Does the Gap treat its employees so astonishingly well that those workers would not be able to find another employer to treat them as well? Does the Gap forge such unfailing emotional connections with its customers that they would fail to find another retailer that could forge just as strong an emotional bond?
In thinking about the Gap, I answered ‘NO’ to each of those questions. The Gap doesn’t provide anything unique. The Gap isn’t ranked as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. And, the Gap hasn’t forged unbreakable emotional connections with its customers. I wouldn’t miss the Gap if it went out of business tomorrow.
Now … try asking those same questions about the company you work for. How does your company rank? Can you answer YES with conviction? Or, do you have to concede by answering NO? (Really, you should ask those questions of and about your company.)