Home Depot has undergone a massive culture change in the last 5 years. News? No. But there’s a really good Ram Charan (co-author of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done ) article in this month’s Harvard Business Review, Home Depot’s Blueprint for Culture Change, that describes the tools that HD used to drive a very big change initiative.
The article is very helpful, with a good overview of the four mechanisms that Home Depot employed. working in concert, to change what Ram Charan refers to as "the social architecture… the collective ways in which people work together."
A major innovation was the implementation of a radical new planning process, blending strategy, operations, and human resource planning, requiring resources "to be allocated on the basis of projected future needs rather than, as in most companies, from extrapolation of past events." Imagine the change that this alone would bring most of our organizations. It would be huge.
Question: who could pull off the transition to a radical new direction like that? Only a leader. And not just any leader. Big L. But to get on the new trajectory of resource allocation based on future needs requires a leader who will say, "it’s not going to be based on what we’ve done before. Even what’s worked before."