The Power of Best Buy’s Retail Hospital

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

In the executive suite at Best Buy’s headquarters, there is a model of a “retail hospital” that shows beds filled with other similar retailers who have fallen gravely ill – Kmart, Woolworths, etc. (Fortune, 4/3/06)

It is difficult to get people interested in change when things are going well, so this mock hospital is a reminder that today’s success can lead to false complacency.

It’s one thing to give people data, but providing an emotional hook can make the case for change much more strongly. That’s why the retail hospital is such a good idea. My only suggestion to Best Buy would be to make sure everyone working for the company sees some version of the mock hospital. The more people who feel an urgency to keep looking for ways to improve, the easier it will be to keep the desire to change high.

You might think about visual and emotional ways to help people feel – and not just see – the need to change in your organization.