5 Lessons Learned from RadioShack

photo credit: Nicholas Eckhart via photopin cc

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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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13 thoughts on “5 Lessons Learned from RadioShack

    • Unfortunately, it seems that many are asking that same question. One way or another, the next 12 months should be interesting to watch.

  1. Perhaps the best way to increase business is NOT to disgruntle thousands of customers by ignoring the fact that December 25 is Christmas in your advertising and promotions. Pretending that Christmas doesn’t exist or when Christmas is what keeps many businesses afloat is not so wise. Just ask J.C. Penny.

    • J.C. Penny is another very interesting case study, Jimmy. Would love to hear your thoughts on some lessons you think we could learn from them.

  2. I never really knew WHAT Radio Shack’s MAIN products were. Don’t you think a store like Radio Shack should have a MAIN product line? Like at Best Buy, you know you can find computers, TV’s and cell phones. But I never knew really what to find at Radio Shack. Their products seemed cheap, their stores seemed unorganized and so very outdated. We stopped going into Radio Shack a year or so ago, after never being able to find the newest products. So, this closing of all these stores does not come as a surprise to me. What does come as a surprise is that they waited so long to do it.

    • Thank you, Kim. Yes, I do believe there has been confusion as to who RadioShack is by the general public. Identity, both internal and external, is key for all organizations.

  3. Whoa, until your last line, I didn’t know that this was supposed to be a Christian blog and that these points were supposed to potentially apply to “your church or other organization.” Well, if your church is a for-profit capitalistic entity, perhaps follow these points. If it is an outpost of the kingdom of God, then faithfully preach the gospel and administer the sacraments (at least as orthodox Protestants do, of which I am one, excusing the bad grammar).

    • Thank you for your comment, T. Webb. The points in this post were specific to the context of our team. The last sentence was an ask. If there were lessons learned by churches or other organizations, I wanted to hear them. I hope this helps.