J.C. Penney is a timely example in the corporate world on how systems of rules are persistent. The high-level details of ousted CEO Ron Johnson’s strategy were:
Johnson’s strategy, which included trading steep sales for everyday low prices and adding hip designer brands, backfired as shoppers left the store in droves.
DealBook summarizes the current situation well.
Even if Mr. Johnson’s ideas had been the right ones, big organizations with entrenched people and cultures are hard to turn around.
J.C. Penney might consider using a skunkworks—an internal startup. This would give it the freedom to innovate and experiment, potentially expanding its customer base without alienating its core. That way, the new rules, in this case—the shopping experience—won’t be imposed on those (customers and employees) who don’t want them.