Whole Foods recently announced a plan to launch a new line of stores geared specifically toward the millennial generation. The plan is to offer healthy options at a lower cost in a better layout.
This is an interesting move from Whole Foods. They are often referred to as “Whole Paycheck” due to their high prices. Granted, these prices are high because the products are higher quality than you may find at an average grocery store. But I think this announcement has an important principle for leaders and businesses to acknowledge.
Always Be Iterating
In Good to Great, Jim Collins profiled a number of incredibly successful companies. In particular, he looked at companies that were significantly more successful than their competitors. All of his research boiled down to several key principles. Whole Foods seems to be thinking of one of those principles: Preserve the Core while Stimulating Progress.
Writing on this topic in an article from 1995, Collins states “We certainly need new and improved business practices and organizational forms, but in a turbulent era like ours, attention to timeless fundamentals is even more important than it is in stable times.” In other words, companies and leaders need to constantly be changing. But those changes must be in line with the general principles of success (hard work, diligence, wisdom, etc) and the particular principles of a given industry.
How does an article from 20 years connect to a new line of stores from Whole Foods? Simple: this recent announcement is an example of a company willing to stimulate progress in order to continue making money. Leaders must always be thinking about what it takes to expand their business and their brand.
Take the Risks Necessary to Grow
Success does not happen while on autopilot. Leaders must be diligent in pursing ways to grow their influence and the reach of the business. Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometimes it is difficult, and sometimes it even seems elusive. But the job of the leader is to changes practices based on the current realities. These changes, however, must be connected to values. Without the foundation of values, then the practices are meaningless.
This announcement from Whole Foods will be one to watch in the future. If the are able to stay connected to their values, vision, and purpose, then maybe this change will work. If not, then we will be talking about how we can learn from their mistakes.