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April 6, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Big Change at Best Buy

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 3:38 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Big Change at Best Buy: Working Through Hypergrowth to Sustained Excellence by Elizabeth Gibson and Andy Billings, Davies-Black, 325 Pages, $26.95 Hardcover, March 2003, ISBN 0891061762
As many of you know by now, I am a confessed music junkie. And, I also enjoy playing the occasional computer game. So, naturally, I know Best Buy. During this past holiday season, I went shopping at one of their stores a couple days before Christmas. The place was packed. I really expected an awful experience. However, everybodycustomers and employeesseemed to be happy. Then, after I found what I was looking for, I was dreading the check-out lines. No problem! The store had two employees directing people to open registers, and the clerk was smiling and chatty. That wasnt even the most shocking thing. The day after Christmas, I went back to cash in a gift certificate to get a bigger hard drive. I was greeted at the front door, asked what I was looking for, and directed to where I needed to go. As I was looking at the drives, somebody stopped restocking to come and help me. It was truly a wondrous experience--I even told my family and friends about it, I was so amazed. Three days later, Big Change at Best Buy came across my desk. I had seen the results of this big change, and now I had the opportunity to learn about the companys journey to that change.
In 1997, Best Buy had $5 billion in sales but only $1 million in profits. Plus, the stock was in trouble. The executives knew they needed help, so they hired the consulting firm of RHR International. This book tells the story of that transformation as seen through the eyes of RHR, and shows how a company-wide culture shift was accomplished. Two ways of measuring the companys success are their profit growth and stock prices: they have grown 1,000% in just three years.
The book is very in-depth and loaded with charts and graphs. The authors Gibson and Billings focused on the three areas where they feel change matters the most: the Head, the Heart, and the Hands. Another one of the things that appealed to me about this book is that it is extremely straightforward in its approach. Divided into three parts, the book details the process of change; those parts are Introducing Change, Implementing Change, and Lasting Changeexactly how I think change needs to be dealt with. Big Change at Best Buy is a real handbook of a successful change initiative.