Over the past 30 years Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin has led the company through several path-breaking business model changes, which have helped the company build a strong brand, grow both organically and through acquisitions, globalize and “get close to the customer”. Zhang is now leading the company through yet another transformation to make it what he calls an “internet-based platform company” made up of extremely responsive micro-enterprises. For the closest parallel, think of a Silicon Valley within a company. In this rare interview, he talks about his management philosophy.
White goods manufacturer Haier is turning itself into an internet-based ‘platform company’ made up of several micro-enterprises. The idea is to create an organization that is extremely responsive to customer needs, constantly cultivates new ideas and innovates quickly. To do that it needs to discard the traditional organizational structure where ideas flow top-down and execution is done bottom-up. The company is now a flat organization which is a marketplace of ideas, talent and resources. The plan sounds good in theory but will the execution be easy?
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