Hubert Joly is a senior lecturer of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy. He is also a member on the board of directors at Johnson & Johnson and at Ralph Lauren. He has been recognized as one of the top 100 CEOs in the world by Harvard Business Review, one of the top 30 by Barron’s, and one of the 10 in the US by Glassdoor. His most recent book, The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism, is a playbook for facilitating the re-foundation of business and capitalism. It chronicles his journey turning Best Buy around from the brink of extinction to being ranked 75 on the Fortune 500 list. Hubert joins Marcel Schwantes to discuss what lies at the heart of business, and how to foster a great work environment.
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- Marcel asks Hubert what he believes business is about. “At the heart of business… is the pursuit of a noble purpose, putting people at the center, embracing all stakeholders, and treating profit as an outcome, not the goal,” Hubert responds. [2:56]
- There are three imperatives to an organization and tackling them in the correct sequence leads to optimal outcomes:
- a people imperative – having the right teams properly motivated and equipped;
- a business imperative – having happy customers who you sell good products to;
- a financial imperative – about profit. [9:35]
- “The old model of leadership portrayed a leader as a superhero here to save the day, probably the smartest person in the room, and, unfortunately, too driven by power, fame, money or glory,” Hubert claims. “This [type of leadership] doesn’t work… [people] want to be part of the journey and the solution.” [15:45]
- Hubert debunks the concept of perfectionism as a key to success; he shares how demonstrating his imperfection actually helped create the right environment for optimal performance at work. “The quest for perfection is evil. Seeing imperfections as an obstacle to perfection, which was the goal, creates an inhuman environment that destroys the heart of your business,” he remarks. [19:04]
- Marcel asks Hubert about the formula for turning around a company in financial distress. Hubert breaks down his strategy for rescuing Best Buy. “Sometimes the approach to change management is to change [the] management,” he adds. [26:58]
- “Operational progress creates routine degrees of freedom, so sometimes you have to start with the basics before you think about creating an amazing future,” Hubert advises. He describes the five ingredients for creating a fabulous work environment, which are: connecting dreams, developing authentic human connections, fostering autonomy, achieving mastery, and putting the wind at your back. [31:52]
- Marcel asks Hubert how he thinks a leader loves. “Work is love made visible… Business is about embracing all stakeholders… This is a beautiful friendship you’re building with all stakeholders, treating all of them, in a sense, as customers.” [45:15]
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