1. Corporate Strategy

Getting to the Heart of Business with Best Buy turnaround CEO Hubert Joly

This week our very special guest is Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and the author of the just released bestselling book The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism.

In a wide-ranging interview we explore Hubert’s storied career as one of the world’s leading CEO’s, highlighted by Best Buy’s transformation into a truly remarkable retailer. But we also delve into his personal evolution from a hard-charging McKinsey consultant who was all about performance optimization, to someone who saw leadership rooted in unleashing “human magic.” 

Beyond the captivating details of Best Buy’s renaissance–which include strongly defying the retail apocalypse narrative–we unpack the many leadership lessons from Hubert’s powerful new book. Chief among them is becoming people-centric, not profit centric and discovering your brand’s–and your own–purpose. He also strongly argues for a complete (and urgent) re-framing of the role of capitalism and presents a pragmatic guide to applying his principles. Our conversation is compelling, concrete and profoundly optimistic. You might also conclude you need to find a coach.

We wrap with our fast-paced weekly segment  “Remarkable or Forgettable?” where we give our hot takes on retail headlines, and deem them wow-worthy, best ignored or somewhere in between. This week’s big stories include Amazon’s blockbuster earnings, department stores’ misleading footwear dominance, forthcoming IPO’s from several well-known digitally-native brands and Walmart+ subscription stats.

Steve’s related Forbes articles:

The Stores Strike Back.

To Defy the Retail Apocalypse, Target and Best Buy Embrace the Blur.

Other related readings:

Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection


HUBERT JOLY is the former Chairman and CEO of Best Buy.

He has been recognized as one of the one hundred “Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by Harvard Business Review, one of the top thirty CEOs in the world by Barron’s, and one of the top ten CEOs in the United States in Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards. Joly is now a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and serves on the boards of Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren.

During Hubert’s time at Best Buy, he and his team rebuilt the company into one of the nation’s favorite employers, a sustainable leader, and an innovator, dramatically increasing customer satisfaction and growing the company’s stock price 10-fold. His greatest achievement, however, may have been to make himself dispensable: he decided to step down as CEO in 2019 and as executive chairman in 2020, and pass the baton to a new generation of leaders.

Hubert’s purpose in life is to make a positive difference on people around him and use the platform he has to make a positive difference in the world. Besides serving on the boards of Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren, he now spends most of his time as a lecturer at Harvard Business School and supporting other leaders seeking to become the best versions of themselves and to lead with purpose and humanity. He is also actively invested in efforts to advance meaningful diversity and inclusion.

Steve Dennis is an advisor, keynote speaker and author on strategic growth and business innovation. You can learn more about Steve on his       website.    The expanded and revised edition of his bestselling book  Remarkable Retail: How To Win & Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption is now available at  Amazon or just about anywhere else books are sold. Steve regularly shares his insights in his role as a      Forbes senior contributor and on       Twitter and       LinkedIn. You can also check out his speaker “sizzle” reel      here.

Michael LeBlanc  is the Founder & President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc and a Senior Advisor to Retail Council of Canada as part of his advisory and consulting practice.   He brings 25+ years of brand/retail/marketing & eCommerce leadership experience, and has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career.  Michael is the producer and host of a network of leading podcasts including Canada’s top retail industry podcast,       The Voice of Retail, plus        Global E-Commerce Tech Talks  and       The Food Professor  with Dr. Sylvain Charlebois.  You can learn more about Michael       here  or on       LinkedIn. 

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