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May 02 , 2009

Good to Great to Gone

The 60 Year Rise and Fall of Circuit City


How did Circuit City go from a Mom and Pop store with a mere $13,000 investment, to the best performing Fortune 500 Company for any 15-year period between 1965 and 1995, to bankruptcy and liquidation in 2009? What must leaders do not only to take a business from good to great, but to avoid plummeting from great to gone in a constantly evolving marketplace?
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Alan Wurtzel, son of Circuit City founder Sam Wurtzel, took over as CEO in 1972 and implemented a successful long term strategy that simplified the company by unloading unsuccessful acquisitions, expanded the few winning divisions, and preserved the distinct employee culture his father created, positioning the company for unprecedented success. For almost 50 years, Circuit City was able to successfully navigate the constant changes in the consumer electronics marketplace and meet consumer demand and taste preferences. But with the subsequent decline and ultimate demise of Circuit City in 2009, Wurtzel had the rare perspective of a former company insider in the role of an outsider looking in.

Believing that there is no singular formula for strategy, Wurtzel emphasizes the “Habits of Mind” that influence critical management decisions. With key takeaways at the end of each chapter, Wurtzel offers advice and guidance to ensure any business stays on track, even in the wake of disruption, a changing consumer landscape, and new competitors.

Part social history, part cautionary tale, and part business strategy guide, GOOD TO GREAT TO GONE: THE 60 YEAR RISE AND FALL OF CIRCUIT CITY features a memorable story with critical leadership lessons.
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