In my last blog, I compared Whole Foods with Amazon. I used these two companies because of my loyalty to both brands. In this follow up blog, I’ll focus on more details regarding the Whole Foods “rise and fall”. Again, it is worth remembering that most corporations do what Whole Foods has done as they have expanded.

I read an article where John Mackey said Jeff Bezos has the courage to march to a different drummer. His point was that nearly all publicly traded companies serve the short term performance required by the “street,” implying that John and team did compromise the long term to serve Wall Street expectations. Bezos never compromised his vision for short term gain. For good reason, he knew where he was going. His leadership principles are alive in his company!

So here they are:

  • Customer Obsession – leaders work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust.
  • Ownership – leaders never say “that’s not my job.”
  • Invent and Simplify – leaders expect and require innovation and simplification from their team.
  • Are Right, A Lot – leaders seek diverse perspectives and work to disconfirm their beliefs.
  • Learn and Be Curious – leaders are curious about new opportunities and act to explore them.
  • Hire and Develop the Best – leaders develop leaders.
  • Insist on High Standards – leaders have relentless and unwavering high standards.
  • Think Big – leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires a deep commitment to results.
  • Bias for Action – leaders act knowing many decisions do not need extensive study and can be reversed in the decision doesn’t work.
  • Frugality – leaders accomplish more with less.
  • Earn Trust – leaders listen attentively, speak candidly, and treat everyone respectfully.
  • Dive Deep – leaders are in the weeds. No task is beneath them.
  • Have Backbone, Disagree and Commit – leaders do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion.
  • Deliver Results!

From my perspective, this list is direct, and everything is aligned with the big idea to be the earth’s most customer centric company. Whole Foods’ mission, in contrast, is a mess. Their values are postcards. The two worst values expressed are: We satisfy, delight, and nourish our customers and We support our team members success and happiness. Need I say more?

Failure to clearly define who you are (both personally and as a company) and where you are going will catch up with you over time. Defining who you are and where you’re going will only accomplish results if they are lived and inspire right action. Words point. Actions create. Right action points to creating and not attaching to the creation. Right action suggest the right amount of research, no more or less, and then ACT (Accelerate – Co-create – Transform).

Unlearning Leadership By Guy Pierce Bell

Coming Soon
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