Source | www.inc.com |
For years, the dominant narrative in tech has been about startups disrupting established companies and large companies’ flatfooted responses to the challenge. Yet here’s a surprise: While many have struggled to adapt to e-commerce‘s threats and opportunities, some large companies have done an admirable job of striking back against upstarts seeking to win their customers.
Specifically, this week, large retailers have disappointed investors. Home Depot gave a weak forecast for the current quarter, partly because of problems with its website. Additionally, Kohl’s stock fell 19 percent after supplying a weak 2019 forecast owing to lower-than-expected revenue from its Amazon Returns partnership.
Are any brick-and-mortar retailers adapting well? Best Buy is. In August 2012, Hubert Joly, who had previously run hospitality company Carlson, took over as Best Buy’s CEO following a whopping $1.7 billion loss and the departure of its previous CEO in the wake of a “close relationship” with a female employee, according to Bloomberg.
By the time Joly handed over Best Buy’s reins to Corie Barry, who had recently served as its chief financial and strategic transformation officer, in June 2019, its shares had soared 330 percent from $20 to about $68 and in the quarter ending May 2019, the 125,000-employee electronics retailer had earned a 3 percent net profit margin.
There are many things Joly did to turn around Best Buy — but the most powerful, surprising, and broadly applicable thing he did was to change the company’s approach to managing its people. Instead of treating Best Buy employees as costs to be minimized — his predecessor eliminated employee discounts — Joly prioritized creating meaning for them.