Interesting article on on the Inc. site that everyone ought to look at. In Amazon Almost Killed Best Buy. Then, Best Buy Did Something Completely Brilliant, Justin Bariso looks at how the retailer managed to survive and even thrive in an age when retailers are all supposed to be on the way out
How did Best Buy manage the feat? According to the article, “When Hubert Joly took over as Best Buy’s chief executive in 2012, he knew he had to tap into his people if the company had a shot at surviving. So, in his first months on the job, Joly did something great: He visited Best Buy stores (and even worked at a store for a week), giving him the chance to speak directly to front line employees.”
He then worked with his employees to figure out what his customers really wanted, and how to get it to them in the easiest way. The result, a company that came back from the dead.
Three cheers for Joly, but there is an issue here, isn’t there? After all, isn’t giving your customers what they want and working with your employees what business is supposed to be all about? Isn’t that what all the retail chains ought to be doing?
You would think so, but clearly it isn’t the norm in American retail today. Consider the demise of Sears, the venerable chain driven to extinction though the questionable actions of the billionaire hedge fund manager who was running it toward the end. Or, consider, too, the fact that retailer after retailer has failed because a distant and removed management thought it was better than under-staff their stores than to invest in their people.
In other words, it looks very much as though “professional management” in the post-industrial age has forgotten that it is dealing with and selling to people, rather than spreadsheets…
And suffers because of it.