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The Other "F" Word: How Smart Leaders, Teams, and Entrepreneurs Put Failure to Work by John Danner, Mark Coopersmith

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img13Stage Four: ReactDeal with It!

Your Role: Team Captain

New Yoga Position: Bend Over, Insert Foot in Mouth

Yoga and active lifestyle apparel brand Lululemon Athletica made headlines in 2013 when its high-end yoga pants proved to be a bit too sheer. As the company attempted to correct the problem, its next generation of pants had problems of a different sort, with the fabric pilling prematurely.

In response to these ongoing issues, Lululemon's founder, Chip Wilson, offered the following comments in a television interview: “Frankly, some women's bodies just don't actually work [for yoga pants].” And he went on, “It's more really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time.”1 This interview followed earlier comments Mr. Wilson had made in which he indicated a major reason some Lululemon yoga pants, which cost around $100 per pair, had become see-through was as a result of women buying yoga pants in sizes that were too small for them.2

Wilson's remarks led most observers to the opinion he was blaming his customers for problems with Lululemon products rather than taking responsibility on behalf of the company. The stock price of Lululemon Athletica, which had traded as high as $80 per share in mid-2013, was trading below $40 within a year.

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Organizations may respect, recognize, and even rehearse adequately, but still flunk when it comes ...

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