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Brad Anderson: 'Unleash the power of people'

Best Buy CEO's philosophy echoes Lutheran understanding of vocation

When I walked into the Best Buy corporate headquarters in Minneapolis for a Waldorf College Alumni Board meeting recently, I sensed this was a company that cared about its employees.

In addition to framed inspirational statements on the walls and books on leadership in comfortable seating areas, other things that make life better for employees of the leading North American retailer of consumer electronics include a child-care facility, bank, dry cleaner, restaurant, fitness center and medical facility.

Brad Anderson
Brad Anderson
These all show CEO Brad Anderson’s management philosophy—what’s called employee-centric and customer-centric.

He shared this philosophy with the alumni of the ELCA college, also his alma mater. “Unleash the power of people,” he said. “Help people find what they are great at and use that power in the world. Life is about [people’s] stories. Use them as a driving motivation.”

Anderson told his life story, too, in which Waldorf “had a tremendous impact.” Had he listened to his high-school guidance counselor, he never would have gone to college. By his own admission, Anderson wasn’t a great scholar in high school. But then he went to Waldorf where, he said, “they give people chances.” His experience at the Forest City, Iowa, school became his first success and it was there that he discovered his love of learning.


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