“Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.” –Louis L’Amour
Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods raised eyebrows among business pundits. Jeff Bezos’ left field maneuver made sense when examining Amazon’s goal of creating return customers based on conveniently delivered consumables. Whole Foods would benefit from Amazon’s economy of scale and distribution techniques. Amazon’s stock got a shot in the arm, and the headlines faded, but how are those changes going?
Business Insider reported in early 2018 that Whole Foods employees are having difficulties with the velocity of change the association with Amazon is bringing. The point of contention centers around the implementation of centralized purchasing and a unifying inventory control system in Whole Foods stores. The report indicates that Whole Foods had utilized a regional, or in some cases, a store-level acquisition system. Associates ordered products from whichever vendor fit their local markets. Never having dealt with coordinated buying or an amalgamated inventory system, reports are indicating Whole Foods associates are nearing the point of revolt.
No matter the veracity of Business Insider’s reporting, it illustrates leaders must gauge their teams’ tolerance for change during the planning process. Adaptation is a learned skill that leaders must teach if the winds of change are aloft. Half of that process is in gaining critical buy in by developing clear change goals and in illustrating the benefits of the change initiatives to associates. The second half is regardless of the speed of change, a support network must be in place to facilitate those initiatives. Proclaiming a new inventory system is two weeks out and handing out manuals won’t cut it. Like planning the supply and logistics side of any initiative, a people plan for the velocity of change must exist. If that’s been overlooked, what could be happening at Whole Foods could be just around the corner for you as well.
The Speed of Change: Accelerators
- What major changes are you attempting to implement within your project, business, or workplace?
- What plans do you have in place to ensure the peopleresponsible for those changes are brought in andready to implement and sustain them?
- Identify the potential “problem areas” and create alist of key actions required to mitigate those risks.
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.