Full text of Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Inc. on Culture Trumps Strategy at Stanford GSB View From The Top Talk…
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Inc on Culture Trumps Strategy
Interviewer: In preparing for this interview one of the things that I learned about you is that you make a point to eat lunch with most of your employees at HSN, particularly for their first, fifth, 10th and 20th anniversaries. And I’ve heard you’re known for sitting down and asking, why are you at HSN and what keeps you here? So Mindy, to get us started, would you mind if I ask you why are you at HSN, and what keeps you there?
Mindy Grossman: That’s a great question, and to your point, I learn more from those breakfasts and those lunches than you can by reading any report, or doing anything. You’ve got to have the pulse of your company, what people are thinking, what they’re feeling and I believe that culture trumps strategy, and I know people have written about that. But I think that you can’t have a long-term, successful, sustainable company unless you have an incredibly engaged culture, and I’ve been fortunate to work for many of those, and it certainly helped me in the transformation of HSN.
But I think where I want to start, to kind of get to the point of how I ended up making the decision to go to HSN which at the time was a pretty big risk according to many people. And I’m known as somewhat of an unconventional risk taker and it really started
Interviewer: Pop ahead to the next —
Mindy Grossman: Yeah.
Interviewer: She’s just driving the interview for me.
Mindy Grossman: You know, my career, and the fact that I’m even in this business was definitely not my original path so. Just quick story. I was – I finished high school at 16 in my junior year, went into college I was in English literature and Philosophy major and there I was in my last semester at GW. I was engaged to be married to my high school sweetheart who was going to become a doctor and, I was graduating and I was going to go to law school.