Final Exam Questions
1a. The way that Nardelli laid out his plan for change was one of the reasons I think it was so successful. He came in and addressed the problems that were easy to point out and also the ones that weren’t apparent to other employees. Nardelli needed to rebuild an organization that could easily compete with other big names, and this was relatively easy because the people at Home Depot knew the importance of taking advantage of its growing size. Nardelli did this by implementing a three strategy plan that involved enhancing the core, extending the business, and expanding the market.
Nardelli’s first step in the process was enhancing the core. This involved improving the profitability of current and future stores, as well as in existing markets. From the article Heart of Change, I think that Kotter’s first step, increase urgency, relates the most to Nardelli’s first step. Kotter describes his first step like this; “A sense of urgency, sometimes developed by very creative means, gets people off the couch, out of the bunker, and ready to move” (Cohen and Kotter 690). I think that this is what Nardelli was trying to make happen in his first step for change. He needed the people of the company to see what the issues were, and make a point to say that if we stay where are now, we will fall behind in a few years. This sense of urgency and improvement was the right step to getting Home Depot employees to care and start to make the best change for the company.
The first step leads right into Nardelli’s second step which was, extend the business. Nardelli’s purpose with this step was to get employees to come up with ways to better serve the customers. This was to not only enhance customer service, but to become a standout figure among competitors. This was probably one of the most important steps and I think that Nardelli implemented it very well. I related this step to Kotter’s fifth step of empowering action. I chose this because Kotter outlines this step as “Key obstacles that stop people from acting on the vision are removed” (Cohen and Kotter 697). The obstacle that Nardelli needed to remove was the similarities between his company and competitors. He did this by offering related home improvement services such as tool rental and home installation of products. This set them apart and allowed them to overcome that “obstacle” and continue to move forward. I think that this was the most important step because it represents the major ‘bump in the road’ that Home Depot needed to overcome in order to continue to keep growing.
The final step in Nardelli’s plan was expanding the market. This was one of the easiest steps to correlate to Kotter because I think that it made the most sense, without specifically saying that same thing. Kotter’s seventh step of don’t let up is described as this; “a change effort will have direction and momentum...build on this momentum and make a vision a reality”. (Cohen and Kotter 700). The whole point of Nardelli’s third step is to take what they have learned and implemented in the company thus far and expand geographically, even serve new kinds of customers. This was his way of carrying the momentum of success out as far as it could go, and making sure that Home Depot didn’t let their success slip through their fingers. This a very good move on Nardelli’s part, and attracting new customers such as commercial contractors and even women, made a huge impact on the overall morale, and success of the store.
The only thing that I would have suggested Kotter adds to his plan, was the implementation of metrics. The Home Depot article talks about how in the beginning there was some harsh resistance to the change, “Resistance to the changes was fierce, particularly from managers: Much of the top executive team left during Nardelli’s first year” (Charan 64). Nardelli did use metrics, and they did make a difference. However, I think that if he had made them a...
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