Man founds company. Man dedicates life to building company. Man takes company public and voted to its board. Man continues to help company grow. Man helps company make money. Man is fired out of nowhere.
Well that appears to be what happened to Men’s Warehouse founder (in 1973) George Zimmer today, a man who is known for his confident commercial promise, “You’re gonna love the way you look. I guarantee it.”
What he couldn’t guarantee was his own retirement party.
It is impossible to see (unless someone comes forward with the “why” of it all) what spurred Corporate decision makers to let Mr. Zimmer go. It could be as simple as their belief that it was time for a change. Or, maybe he did something so unsavory, the very sight of him collectively turned boardroom stomachs? Either way, what we can assert is this: no matter what you do, there are no guarantees in life.
While that may be seen as a defeatist attitude, one that ultimately compromises passion and drive because it fills us with doubt – “no guarantees” really asks us to change our perspective.
Look at it this way, before you enter a venture you should ask if you are considering it for the potential payoff alone – or is it something that you want to be a part of regardless of outcome?
If you have a passion for it, outcome is only a potential byproduct of your labors. Instead of worrying about the future, you can enjoy the process of growing something that you care about.
Look. We don’t (and may never) know what happened that caused the decision-makers at Men’s Warehouse to oust their most tenured and recognizable leader. But, if it isn’t a reaction to a crime that may see the aforementioned gent behind bars, we will get to see the eventuality and life-cycle of one man’s business career.
I am in no way qualified to judge someone’s sincerity any better than anyone else, but watching his commercials, I saw what I thought was a guy who cared about his product, his customers, and the well-being of his company.
Could it be the times have evolved beyond Mr. Zimmer’s vision? Could it be that the people responsible for their shareholders just could not get the gentlemen to bow out gracefully – particularly after such a long and storied run?
But when the dust eventually does settle, I don’t think what we’ll be left with will, in any way, resemble a tragedy. Instead, we might be looking at the eventuality of a man who got to see his little dream blow up so big, it even eclipsed his highest expectations. And, even if we never know what really happened between Zimmer and Men’s Warehouse (barring any Paterno-esque morality crisis) we might see something else …
The final day of a career lived, well, SUPREMELY!
And quite possibly a well-deserved “Shame on you” for Men’s Warehouse. Not so much for the decision to let him go (they had their reasons), but being in the style business at all, you should go get fitted for some yourselves. Maybe George will be around for a consultation?
If were him, I would charge top dollar.