Toys R Us may be a memory in a matter of weeks.
That stirs a boat load of emotions for many of us.
Personally, this conjures up the toys my own children enjoyed; Barney, Pokeman cards and Star Wars miniatures. Once again this confirms that time marches on, whether we like it or not.
The same axiom also applies to the quickly evolving environments in which organizations must live. The landscape evolves, whether or not organizations are ready to respond effectively. Brick & mortar operations have been hit particularly hard over the last decade. Like many that have struggled, Toys R Us has been a formidable company. A storied brand that continues to sell a lot of toys.
However, things have changed.
I frequently discuss how organizations have gone down the wrong path; how they might have chosen the wrong strategy or invested in leadership that led to only problems. However, I’m not sure this tells the entire story with Toys R Us. Yes, leadership could have been more agile, shifting more intently to a focus on customer experiences. Yes, they have faced extreme financial challenges. Yes, they should have been ever-responsive to the e-commerce landscape.
However, I have the distinct feeling these weren’t the only reasons why Toys R Us could be leaving us. You see, as an organization, Toys R Us may represent an era that no longer exists. (Please know I deeply respect what Toys R Us has accomplished as an organization.) A time when children played predominately with toys. When they were not using a device of some sort. A time when lingering in a toy store was on the “to do” list.
Somehow I can’t blame that shift entirely on one organization.
It seems that Toys R Us is verging on extinction. (Hoping this does not come to pass.)
The environment may not support its species any longer.
The reasons why — may have deeper ramifications.
Only time will tell.
What are your thoughts?
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.