Are You A Loss Leader?

Leadership is a thriving industry. Lately, the concept that some failure is good for growth has been embraced. However, winning and losing is nothing without a process.

In retail we know the definition of a “loss leader” is a good or service advertised and sold at below cost price…the purpose being to bring in or lead customers to a store. This doesn’t work if not included in an overall pricing strategy. Likewise, attracting customers with a hook that has no ability to keep them is also not a long-term recipe for success.

Was George Washington our country's first Loss Leader?

Was George Washington our country’s first Loss Leader?

But, winning is fun. Star leaders are celebrated and copied verbatim regardless of their usefulness to every organization. So, what is the value of failure to further the good of the order? These days, purveyors of leadership training have begun to appreciate that failure is not only o.k., it may in fact be part of developing the next C-suite sensation.

My definition of a Loss Leader is one that should view issues from all sides, make the difficult decisions and admit failure while respecting the process of change – good or bad. Here are four characteristics of a Loss Leader:

Does It Fit – Before sending programs to the bench, make sure they can’t play. Change is difficult, but possible if the end is clear. The organization with a true view of itself, can measure a program against goals and soundly determine if a loss is preventable or inevitable.

Can It Be Re-Distributed – Sometimes there are pieces worth salvaging. Perhaps the personnel or product has a better spot elsewhere in the organization. Maybe a vendor can help you with a new effort or has ties to resources for the next step. Ask those questions because answers might pleasantly surprise you.

Does It Add Up – Yes, money is still, and always will be, a consideration. It’s further down this list because following the dollar alone is not the first elimination. Doing a quasi-forensic audit is needed to truly weigh the pros and cons of any endeavor while also looking at the organizational factors above.

What Does It Lead To – So, you have determined that a program is headed to the archives. A Loss Leader should be steps ahead based on experience and the review process to know what the re-allocation of resources will look like. Bad things come from thinking that the end of an initiative will, or should be, accepted at face value.

Empty wins and losses are false positives. Vetting thoroughly the tough decisions could cost you personally. But, proving your personal corporate safety is not mutually exclusive with the failure to change should make your Loss Leadership something that keeps bringing shoppers through the doors.

Glenn Kass - Catch Driver Marketing (Photo by Shuva Rahim - Accent Photographics -

Glenn Kass – Catch Driver Marketing (Photo by Shuva Rahim – Accent Photographics –

Glenn Kass and Catch Driver Marketing can help you with the process. For more, visit Or, “Like”, “Follow” and “Watch”

About catchdrivermarketing

Catch Driver provides marketing and communications services/consultation for small to medium size businesses and non-profits. The "Your Ideas...On Track" slogan means helping organizations and business owners with projects they want to do, but lack staff and time to execute themselves, and working to drive them to a successful outcome. See more at
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