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Being “Dispensable” at Best Buy

March 19, 2013

Late last year, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly shared a revealing quote with the StarTribune that sheds light on what he wants Best Buy to be like on the inside. ‘In a turnaround transformation, direction needs to come from the top,’ he said.

“…Joly said that he wanted to restore accountability to the culture at Best Buy. It starts with himself, but everyone has to be on board with that culture.

“’…You need to feel dispensable as opposed to indispensable,’ he said about himself.”

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Under Joly’s leadership, Best Buy has also recently done away with its innovative ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) flexible schedule program, just as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has stirred controversy and ire by calling remote workers back to Yahoo’s home office.

The reports of what’s going on at Best Buy got Linkage’s Change and Transition practice leader Mitchell Nash thinking. “I like that Joly is being explicit about his expectations,” Mitchell writes. “Especially around accountability, and he’s absolutely right to say that it starts with himself. It’s good for the employees at Best Buy to see Joly, and the leadership team, behaving in ways that reinforce what he’s looking for in others. I also hope that there is a recognition that culture change takes explicit investments of time and energy, and that it doesn’t change overnight. While employees will ‘mourn’ the loss of ROWE, letting go and moving into the new expectations will create more positive change in the long run.”

So, what do you think? Does increasing employee accountability in this way increase the probability of turning around struggling organizations? And, will feeling “dispensable” really lead to better employee productivity? Tell us your opinion below.

More about Mitchell

Mitchell Nash is a Regional Vice President, Principal Consultant, and leader of Linkage’s Change and Transition Leadership practice. He has over 20 years of experience leading, facilitating, and supporting large-scale change initiatives.

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