Macy’s Pushes Execs In The Wrong Direction

Macy’s announced that it will be tying executive compensation to the performance of the company’s stock price over the next three years. That’s an interesting approach given this recent advice from Jack Welch:

On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy… Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products.

If I were one of Macy’s shareholders, I’d rather have the execs focused a little less on the stock price and a little more on employees and customers. Maybe they should tie executive compensation to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index. Macy’s ended up tied for 15th place out of the 25 retailers we examined; well behind other department stores like Kohl’s and JCPenney.

Rather than following an outdated management approach, I suggest that Macy’s execs download my free book: “The 6 New Management Imperatives: Leadership Skills For A Radically Changed Business Environment.” In it they will find 6 alternative places to focus their energy:

  1. Invest in culture as a corporate asset
  2. Make listening an enterprisewide skill
  3. Turn innovation into a continuous process
  4. Provide a clear and compelling purpose
  5. Extend and enhance the digital fabric
  6. Practice good social citizenship

The bottom line: Isn’t it time for new management thinking?

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

4 thoughts on “Macy’s Pushes Execs In The Wrong Direction”

  1. Bruce,

    This gets at the heart of the trend over the last few decades to focus on outputs rather than inputs. It’s interesting to watch leaders examine the revenue and the stock price almost daily and rarely address the things that are driving it, or not, like culture, customer focus, and employee engagement. I often ask executives after they tell me about their strategic plan, to tell me about their culture plan. As you can imagine, those don’t routinely exist. Great post.

  2. It is amazing to me that in 2009, with so many tragic examples of the stock price tail wagging the corporate dog into oblivion, a corporation could actually proliferate such a policy.

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