In this episode of the "Work in Progress" podcast, host and Opus Distinguished Professor of Principled Leadership Christopher Michelson speaks with guest Hubert Joly on work's meaning and purpose. Joly is the former CEO of Best Buy and published his book, The Heart of Business, in 2021, which lays out a new philosophy for looking at business through a person-centered lens.
Q. Where did your story begin? Can you share some of your defining moments?
A. Some defining moments as a business leader - one, I was a consultant. I remember having a dinner with a client of mine who really educated me about business by telling me, 'The purpose of a company is not to make money. It's an outcome, an imperative, but it's not the ultimate purpose. We should not confuse an imperative with the ultimate goal.'
Q. When you agreed in 2012 to become CEO of Best Buy ... can you tell us a little bit about your approach to the company at that time and about the context of consumer electronics in 2012? Why did you take the job?
A. When I got the call, I said, 'Jim, you're crazy, I know nothing about retail, and Best Buy used to be a great company but it seems to be facing a lot of problems.' He said, 'They're not looking for a retailer, they're looking for somebody who's going to take a fresh look and take the company forward.' Most of the problems of the company were self-inflicted. What's the good news? You can fix them yourself and you don't need to blame anybody else. It felt there was enough assets and opportunities to effectuate a turnaround.
Listen to their conversation here: