Recently I was on Bloomberg, discussing Lululemon once again. We know of the controversial statements, the apology video, the new CEO – but are they doing the things they need to in order to make a comeback?
Every business that starts from an entrepreneur pretty much follows the same path:
- Start with a one-man band, who does everything and has a great passion behind it to drive it.
- Next, add devout followers, the people who believe in the same dreams, hopes, and aspirations. They won’t always have the right skills needed, but they are deeply engrained in the culture and mission the entrepreneur is trying to drive.
- Finally, they add skilled technicians in certain positions to get them to the next level.
The third stage is where Lululemon is. The founder is still involved, but yet not involved and has brought on new people. But some of those people lack the certain skills needed. Combine that with their exponential growth, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
What you see with the problems they’ve had has primarily been two-fold. First, and I’ve said it from the beginning, are typical production problems regarding product management. No one is in the position that has done it (or at least looks like they’ve done it), where they are looking for certain things that could become even a basic problem. If Lululemon were doing quality control and testing, they would have found out the yoga pants were sheer!
Second is how the Lululemon leadership reacted to that. They seemed a little out of touch and made some bonehead statements that drew attention. More than what was deserving of the issue.
The biggest thing Lululemon needs to do is decide whether or not the founder wants to be involved in any way, shape, or form – or if he should be. My opinion is that he’s already made the comment that he’s too wealthy, so why would he want to be doing this? That’s the biggest problem they have with the business – a leader that is meddling, dropping in and out. They need to resolve their leadership and put the right people in the right places. That will be the biggest deciding factor in how Lululemon makes their comeback.
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a global business celebrity and speaker, bestselling author, Contributing Editor and Host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett on Bloomberg Television. He is the CEO of The Hayzlett Group, an international strategic business consulting company focused on leading change and developing high growth companies. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email.