Last week, RadioShack announced that they were closing 1,100 of its stores. This past Monday, my Institutional Advancement team met to discuss the lessons that can be learned from RadioShack’s downturn. Some of the insights from the team were phenomenal and worth passing along. Admittedly, they were meant to be applicable to our team’s specific context. Some thoughts may be more applicable to your context than others. But all should be, at least, worth considering.
Here are 5 lessons our team learned from RadioShack:
1. Be willing to define reality.
Anecdotal stories of how everything is going well may make a team feel good, but focusing on these stories can lead a team to believe that they are more successful than what reality reveals. Do not be afraid to look at numbers and trends. As you view numbers and trends, try not to sugarcoat what they reveal. At some point, every team will have to deal with negative numbers and trends. Try not to view this as failure, but just as a sign that something needs to change. Make the change.
2. Be willing to disrupt your organization/area to keep current constituents and obtain new constituents.
Constituents can get tired of the same old, same old. Even the most loyal constituents can leave. A great amount of attention is typically given to acquiring new constituents. Less focus is given to keeping the already acquired. Both groups are vital to your organization/area’s success. Look for areas of change that will increase the likelihood of your current constituents staying with you.
3. Identity is everything.
Know who you are. Know who outsiders think you are. If there is misalignment between these two, you have two options. You can try to change your identity, or you can try to change the mind of outsiders. Neither is an easy task, but I would always prefer the latter.
4. Show value.
Of course, you may need to first develop value. To show value, simply answer the question, “Why?” Why do you do what you do? Why should they choose you and not the alternatives?
5. Continuously explore ways to develop loyalty.
There were many organizations that wanted their attention, but they chose you. And they like feeling that they made the right choice. Be sure to find new ways to affirm their decision. The effort it takes to do this is far less than the value they bring to your organization.
If you have any additional thoughts regarding lessons learned from RadioShack’s downturn that are applicable to your church or other organization, I would love to hear them.