The local Younkers store went out of business yesterday – part of the liquidation of the whole BonTon retail chain. Younkers was one of the original tenants in our mall and was an anchor in its location since 1968. It was a retail giant here for 50 years, but now it is just an empty shell.

There are many reasons for the chain’s demise, but I believe that one of them was their coupon policy. They relied so heavily on drawing customers to the store because of their discount coupons but left them infuriated when the coupons did not apply to certain (seemingly most) items. The coupons brought people in, but the exclusions caused them to tune out. I found it ironic that even in their going-out-of-business sales exceptions applied.

Your organization can take a lesson from Younkers and others in this chain. While it is tempting to make grandiose promises on the front end, you are better of modifying your expectations and overdelivering on the back end. People want surprises of delight, not frustration. Give them what they expect or give them more – never less – or you may ultimately find yourself as the one being excluded.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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