Target’s Huge Fall and Exit from Canada: Five Leadership Lessons

by Jim Taggart February 9, 2015

Wile CoyoteThere’s no question, or doubt, that reaching the pinnacle of a top leadership job in the corporate world, or the public sector for that matter, is for the most part something of which to be proud. Leading organizations in today’s volatile global economy and geo-political roller coaster of non-stop events is definitely not for the squeamish. It requires personal smarts, intense focus and immense concentration of effort to guide companies and public sector organizations through unrelenting change.

Your correspondent during his three decades with the Government of Canada, working in two provinces and for a variety of federal departments and agencies, experienced some excellent top leadership from deputy ministers (equivalent to secretaries in the United States government). But there were also many mediocre and, in some cases, incompetent top leaders, and not just at the deputy minister level but those at the next two levels down.


Nothing surprising here.

The private sector has its abundant share of incompetents sitting in the corner office on the cloud-grazing suite level. The public sector takes a lot of flak, often unnecessary, from the media and the public. Your correspondent’s view is if you screw up when you’re leading an organization you have only to blame yourself.

Dodge CityAnd that brings us to the focus of this post: Target’s get-out of-Dodge from its disastrous showing in Canada, something that will be studied undoubtedly in Canadian business schools in the future. But first, a little background on Target Corporation.

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