In talks with the press, Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, acknowledged that his company had prioritized employees at the expense of their customers. Whole Foods universal nickname had become “Whole Paycheck” which is not synonymous with service — it’s just expensive.
When asked how Whole Foods’ relationship with shareholders would change following the marriage to Amazon, Mackey said that his company would evolve to match Amazon’s relentless focus on customers.
“I think our company’s gone too much team-member-focus at the expense of our customers. And that’s one evolution that’s definitely going to happen. I love the passion these guys have around the customer. They put the customer first in everything they do and then think backwards. And we’re going to start to be the same way.”
In other words, Amazon designs their systems around the customer — NOT around the employees or the shareholders.
In 1989 I told my staff that we only had two rules and they were equally important. The first was “Do your job”. And the second was “Have fun!” You cannot do one without the other.
In 1994, Jeff Bezos started Amazon and told his crew to “ Work hard, have fun, make history”.
Based on history, I have to say, it works. Our customers loved us so much they would sometimes call just to brighten their day. And they loved to brag about us to others. They were our best salespeople!
As a customer, I can always tell when a business has a fun culture. I get better service, have less problems, and leave feeling good. Afterwards, I almost always tell people how great it was.
It’s not your customer’s job to remember you. It’s your job to make sure they don’t forget you.
That culture can’t be forced or coerced. But it can be taught. Bezos and I are both advocates of walking the talk — leading by example. We know that culture starts at the top.
“Do your Job. Have fun. Make History.” Build your systems with the customer in mind. Your customer is the one paying the bills.
Now if we could only get our government to think the same way