Sears’s Corporate Quagmire Is a Fascinating Apologetic for Collaboration


You need to read this.  Sears Holdings CEO Eddie Lampert has atomized his company to the point of open warfare between beleaguered factions .  “Siloed” doesn’t begin to describe the relationship between business units and their relationship to the overarching goals of the holding company, whatever they are.

Thought leaders, leaders of any kind, must observe widely and deeply.  I’m not a likely MBA candidate any time soon, but I am keenly interested in the failures of market atavism precisely because I left the business world proper in the hopes of finding generative space of innovation, collaboration, and change.  The experience at Sears has everything to do with how we lead our communities, our schools, our cultural and spiritual organizations, and, of course, our businesses.  It has everything to do with how we organize our lives in the larger human tribe.

When America’s political fathers were framing the Constitution, James Madison believed that self-interested factionalism was the key to curbing fanaticism and tyrannies of majority.   These days, self-interested factionalism is itself a kind of tyrant.  Lampert’s Sears is no way forward.  It is the relic of (and playbook for) a never-fully realized Randian dystopia.  Humanity is better than that and has always, deep down, known so.  Let the grain and seed out of the silo so they can be made to feed and grow new notions forward, better ways of doing human things and of being human.  The law of the jungle vs. the prayer of civilization.

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