Best Buy CEO Takes Lessons From the Front Line
Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn started out working in stores and knows that associates on the front line are a valuable source of information that he needs to tap into.
In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Dunn recalled an experience where the store manager sought out his opinion as a 14-year-old manning the checkout. After giving a no insight answer, Mr. Dunn recalled the manager saying, "I asked you about this ’cause I really care what you think. You’re doing this every single day and I want to know what you think about it."
Mr. Dunn, who moved from that first job in a supermarket to working in a consumer electronics store and eventually up the ladder to his present position, added, "I know it seems simple, but just that notion of learning from people who are actually doing the work, and the encouragement he gave me to tell him exactly what I thought really stayed with me, and it was a recurring thing throughout the time I worked for him."
Today as CEO of the consumer electronics chain, Mr. Dunn told the Times, "It’s really important to me to get out where the customer experiences the brand, and that means I surf our Web pages. It means I call our call center. It means I visit our stores and talk to our associates about what’s working, what’s not."
Discussion Questions: What is your assessment of Brian Dunn’s approach to leading Best Buy? Does Mr. Dunn’s store-level experience give him an edge over CEOs leading other companies who did not come up from the front lines?