Brave Commerce Podcast: Navigating Turnarounds

Chris Cowger of Dell on the significance of aligning on problem statements

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On this episode of Brave Commerce, Chris Cowger, svp of global ecommerce and online experience at Dell, joins hosts Rachel Tipograph and Sarah Hofstetter to talk about leadership and turnaround strategies.

The conversation begins with Cowger attributing his return to Dell to the quality of professionals and the collaborative environment within the company. He outlines a three-step process for effective turnarounds, emphasizing the necessity of aligning on the problem statement, ensuring clear understanding of each person’s role in solving the problem, and summarizing the solution in a concise manner that would fit on a bumper sticker.

As the conversation continues, Cowger highlights the importance of a rigorous business management system in effectively adapting to change. He highlights that regular meetings, reviews and accountability are crucial in maintaining focus and achieving results. Furthermore, he delves into Dell’s transformation, particularly its reentry into the consumer electronics market and its pursuit of reclaiming its position as a top ecommerce entity.

The discussion also touches upon Dell’s response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Cowger points out how Dell’s diverse product offerings, resilient product categories and profitability became advantageous during the crisis. He discusses how customer needs changed after the pandemic, noting a shift from home office setups to increased demand for high-quality peripherals and accessories. As companies adapt to shifting conditions, Cowger emphasizes the critical role of adaptability and innovation to keep pace.

Key takeaways:

  • Identify and align on the correct problem statement before implementing solutions.
  • Simplify complex strategies into concise, memorable statements that resonate with the team.
  • Capitalize on evolving customer demands by offering premium and upgraded solutions to meet their evolving needs.