• 2019-10-15

Are You Mindful of the Fickle Factor?  

Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches story, but have you ever noticed how many people also devour stories of how the mighty have fallen?


The latest example is a once glorious retail king that rose from humble beginnings and now finds itself battling to keep its crown. A fast-fashion juggernaut is learning the hard way how a Kingdom of Commerce called the Shopping Mall is now under siege from a fickle, unforgiving and most fearsome enemy.  

It’s a sobering lesson for what happens when a brand refuses to change and places a premium on growth, scale and expansion before eventually collapsing under the weight of massive inventory and bloaty ambition. 


With the recent news of Forever 21 taking the plunge into bankruptcy court, this tragic tale of a self-inflicted catastrophe could serve as a wake-up call to help some leaders avoid a similar fate.

There is a heavy price to pay for blind worship at the altar of Speed, Scale & Growth without any regard for the Value of Vision.

Nothing will paralyze our ability to see the future like something the ancient Greeks called hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs); a personality that displays extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence. Today, we label this characteristic as being arrogant.

South Korean immigrants Jin Sook and Do Wan Chang worked their share of low-paying service jobs before launching Forever 21 in 1984, eventually amassing an estimated net worth of nearly $6 billion. 


They were still opening mall locations as late as 2016, failing to anticipate the looming retail apocalypse that began in 2017. Did the couple fall victim to a dangerous hubristic cocktail of overconfidence and over-ambition, fuelled by power and success? 


To prevent risky and reckless decisions that cause leaders to significantly overreach themselves, it helps to be Mindful of the Fickle Factor as we go shopping for insights on Leaders & Legends.

“Happiness and freedom begin with one principle. Some things are within your control and some are not.” 

EPIICETUS, 55-155 AD


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**Big shout out to Josh Parlee at CreoVisuals for creating the videos above (and all videos we produce).  If you need a video genius (we're not kidding), contact Josh here.