“A downturn is a terrible thing to waste.” – excerpt from an interview with Frank Blake, CEO, Home Depot Inc., in The Wall Street Journal.
If ever a company had reasons to be concerned about survival, it would been Home Depot. When Frank Blake became CEO a year and a half ago, the company needed major renovation. Not only was it losing market share to Lowe’s, but employee morale was suffering. Then the U.S. housing boom ground to a halt.
What did Mr. Blake do? Rather than taking a cut and slash approach to hard times, he chose to invest in the company. Over the past two years, the company has spent more than $3 billion on developing new systems, store improvements, and changing the company’s direction so that it’s more appealing to the do it yourself homeowner.
While the stock is still on a bit of a roller coaster ride, I can tell you that my husband (who has high standards about the service he expects from hardware stores) is once again willing to shop there. If enough people have the same reaction, then Home Depot is definately on its way to recovery.
The next time you think you’re stuck in hard times, take a long term performance approach to the future rather than cutting back in retreat. Like Frank Blake, you may find that hard times can lead to better times ahead.
For more tips on how to boost your company’s performance, we invite you to read How to Create New Opportunities in a Down Economy.