This week I attended a lecture at our local library by Grant Welker, local reporter for the Lowell Sun and co-author of a book just released titled,We Are Market Basket. If you live in the New England area, you could not have escaped the daily news reporting a year ago of this local supermarket chain where employees, customer, and suppliers united in protest and brought this business to it's knees because the Board of Directors fired their CEO over unresolvable philosophical differences over the purpose of the business. One faction believing that it was to maximize profits to serve the needs of the shareholders first, the other to serve the community and the needs of customers and employees first. Bonded together, employees, customers, and suppliers essentially shut down the operations of a $4B successful and profitable business causing them to lose 90% of sales in 6 short weeks to the point they were facing bankruptcy.
This book is a story of a 100+ year old family owned business with a long history of customer and community focus that also had leaders with extremely strong philosophical differences about how the business should be run that led to a surprising employee, customer, and supplier revolt. The focus on serving customers and community first eventually won out over the focus on serving shareholders first. This is a fascinating story about the strength and sustainability of a company culture and engaged employees willing to put their jobs and their livelihood on the line for what they believed was right, not to mention that customers and suppliers also saw what was going on and joined them in a veritable retail revolution. I wrote a blog about this and posted it on my LinkedIn page so you can read a bit more about it there but I would highly recommend reading the book.
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