“We don’t do problems. We do solutions.”
—Amory Lovins1
In December 2000, Bob Nardelli became CEO of Home Depot. He arrived with impeccable credentials: he had enjoyed the best operating record in GE, one of the most admired companies in America, and was the runnerup to replace Jack Welch. Home Depot, however, was a mess, and Nardelli set about cleaning it up. He introduced a military-style rule. He fired most of the existing managers and replaced them with his own recruits, many from GE and the U.S. Army.2 The company even started to look and feel like an army.
He introduced centralized purchasing and a billion-dollar investment in technology, along with sharp reductions in staff and costs. As a result, Home Depot ...

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