Archives for posts with tag: Whole Foods

blah_blah_nation_CopyImage: Hugh McLeod

Saturday I decided to make a spinach-strawberry salad. With gritted teeth, I was ready to pay $5.99 for a small box of strawberries at Whole Foods. Until the cashier asked me if I wanted to donate money to some cause. I clenched my teeth even tighter and just muttered “No”.

I had a long speech ready but I kept it to myself. (And I won’t bore you with it either.)

I never found out what the cause was all about out. One could hope it was for a cause like “Nobody should pay $5.99 for 4 strawberries.” but I’m sure it was asking me to be support the daily sunrise with my little donation. (I’m totally against such a thing.)

I don’t blame the cashier. That’s why I kept quiet. I just feel it’s a symptom of a sickness sweeping this country.

Not one day passes where I’m not asked to copy and paste a status update into my Facebook to show support. I’m supposed to “Like” another group for clean water. Or RT my awareness and opposition against some human drama in the world.

Let’s be clear here: I’m against cancer. I’m against wars. I want the world to be a loving, empathetic, innovative and stimulating place. I’m against everything that hurts people and other creatures.

But “liking” a cause doesn’t make a difference. Copy and pasting my disgust with cancer in my Facebook status doesn’t change a thing. Talking about all the bad things in the world has never made a difference. It reminds me of all the junky toys my kid has. Junky causes. Soon to be discarded and forgotten.

For that moment when you push the “Like” button, you can pretend you really care. You can share with the world how progressive and forward-thinking you are. That’s there more about you than the favorite basketball team or the check-in at Starbucks.

When your kid has a problem, there’s no “Like” button and any gabbing on Facebook won’t fix anything. You have to get your hands dirty and fix the problem.

Why would you think it’s different when it comes to work? Or causes?

FoE Book Cover

This insightful book argues that success of any enterprise is built on a foundation that goes deeper than what we do and how we do it. In Firms of Endearment, terms like purpose, meaning, appreciation, joy, and yes, even love are not only acceptable, they are critical in the corporate language and culture. And they are not reserved for internal use or marketing efforts; these attributes are applied to all stakeholders, including customers.

Some people might think it’s about a 60’s revival or some do-gooders. Exactly the opposite is true. The book features an in-depth study of firms that have outperformed  their peers and the market as a whole. Publicly traded Firms of Endearment enterprises returned 750% over 10 years while the S&P overall provided a 128% return. Even more interesting, these companies provided a 205% return, while the S&P lost 13%. We’re talking about household names like Amazon, Best Buy, Google, Honda, IKEA, Patagonia, Timberland, Whole Foods – just to name a few.

Why do emotional connections between stakeholders make such a difference?

It’s fairly straightforward. Think about the relationships in your life: Some are rewarding because you really feel appreciated. Some are pure transactions. Interactions often drain energy while feeling appreciated gives us more energy. And they encourage us to have more interactions with the brand. Same is true when your turn it around: You feel more energetic when you are being appreciative of what you are doing and whom you are interacting with than if you were feeling dread about it.

The focus on emotional connections decreases the turnover rate, increases internal and external loyalty and, ultimately, improves profitability. Companies have to do better than just declaring people are their most important assets. They have to live it.