Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Recently, one of my mentor, Eric Feng wrote a reminding email to me. Here is the email:

A retail giant here in Singapore recently announced that they are shutting down their last two stores.

The Public: shocked;

Fans: disappointed;

Suppliers: angry;

Not exactly the best way to end their 162 years of history. If people were telling a year ago that Robinsons will close down, I will laugh at you and say “Sure… and the sun will rise from the west.”

But Robinsons isn’t the only company that bites the dust. According to NBC news, many iconic department stores and entertainment giants have also recently filed for bankruptcy.

Forever 21.


Cirque Du Soleil.


Just to name a few.

The culprit that everyone conveniently blamed: COVID19. But if that’s true then why are some of their peers in the same industry doing well in spite of the pandemic?

My conclusion: It is not COVID19 that destroyed businesses. It is COMPLACENCY.

Remember Titanic?

The engineers claimed that their ship was “practically unsinkable”. They were so confident that they didn’t load the full 48 lifeboats. Just 16. And you know what happened. Out of the 2240 passengers, more than 1500 died.

Back to Robinsons.

During the good years, if they have worked harder to appeal to the millennials who are coming into their prime spending years… they may still be around.

If they have moved faster into the online world and leverage on social media and livestream to engage both their suppliers and customers… they may still be around.

I think this quote sums it up.

Success breeds complacency.

Complacency breeds failure.

Only the paranoid survive.

Looking at the increasing number of COVID19 cases around the world, this pandemic is here to stay. Instead of “waiting it out”, I think the smart thing to do is to ADAPT to this new world and win at three areas:

Win in your business

Win in your relationships

Win in your mind

A very prompt reminder that we must sit on our laurels if we play to WIN! It is also a reminder that we should not bury ourselves with old skills but continue to acquire new skills, no matter how uncomfortable it was.

Image credit: jackSTAR | Getty Images

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