Repeating the Same Mistakes
“What mistakes didn't they make?” asks Rob Gelphman of Gelphman Associates, expressing the exasperation of so many consumers, analysts, and consultants who have watched Kmart through the years. Kmart seemed to zig when it should have zagged, changed when it should have hung on to its mission, stayed put when it should have pursued new operating strategies, and so on. Where its competitors moved from point A to point B to point C, Kmart opted to try some shortcuts that ended up putting them behind. And now that they're behind, it's unclear whether they'll be able to catch up at all.
Even if Kmart can iron out its problems, correct its deficiencies, and get on the right path, who's to say the company will be willing to stay on the straight and narrow? Time and again, Kmart has made decisions that seem to fly in the face of practicality or common sense. In many cases, the same mistake has been made more than once. Instead of learning from its mistakes, as strong companies do, Kmart seems incapable of applying the knowledge it has at its disposal. In other cases, the company has preferred to ignore useful information, frequently making questionable decisions as a result.