Bob Nardelli, the former Chrysler and Home Depot CEO, spoke at an event I attended this week. Consistent with his hard-nosed reputation, he referenced a Wide World of Sports “the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat” perspective on business. (He actually reversed the quote, mentioning the agony part first. Read into that if you so choose.) His remarks touched on a variety of topics including:

  • Approach to business growth: 1) enhance the core, 2) extend the business and 3) expand the market
  • Thoughts on organizational progress: internal rate of change must be greater than the external rate of change
  • Notable CEO trends: an increasing number of constituents to please, a great focus on quarterly earnings-per-share and the certainty of uncertainty

Naturally he made a subtle dig at Chrysler – which he referred to as an “unnamed company in Michigan” – and their lack of ability to handle business dips. Nothing negative was heard in his Home Depot references, although he does have more than two hundred million reasons to be positive about that experience.