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Mngt157 Management

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Mngt157 Management

Walk into any one of the 14 Canadian Whole Foods Markets and you will see eye-popping displays of fresh and healthy food. What you may not see is the continuous innovation happening, thanks to effective leadership and empowered employees working in teams. Every store features about a dozen self-directed teams who make decisions about their work units with very little management control. Each team in all 14 stores meets continuously, with each store meeting monthly as a team as well. Even with the takeover by Amazon, Canadian stores are still running smoothly and not facing the supply chain management problems in the US.62

Team meetings are an opportunity for team members to communicate openly, solve problems, and share information. They are the backbone of the stores’ operation, leading to company innovations and improvements. This promotes team accountability and reinforces the company’s values. Teams compete in many ways: against their own goals for sales, growth, and productivity; against other teams in their store and also their region.63 Whole Foods has an open-book management philosophy, right down to a radical open-salary policy. All teams can view everyteam’s performance, as well as submit peer reviews and benchmark each other. Even with competition, the teams still manage to collaborate by sharing knowledge and best practices so that all teams get better.64

Whole Foods teams approve new hires for full-time jobs. New recruits generally go through a temporary employment of about 30 days, after which team members vote on whether they should stay. Employees take this seriously since they receive monthly bonuses based on team performance. If the teams find ways to lower costs, they share in the savings generated.65

Team self-responsibility leads to employee empowerment. Whole Foods employees do not need to be supervised in order to ensure job performance. That trust leads to higher performance than could be achieved otherwise. Whole Foods views control as a way of creating the conditions that allow for self-direction. With shared values, team members develop a greater sense of responsibility from each other.66

Whole Foods is passionate about helping people eat well and live longer. The company wants to teach customers that healthy eating makes a difference, as does sustainable supply and caring for the planet. That message would not get through without employees who believe in it and are ambassadors of the brand. Since the employees are passionate about their jobs and believe in the company’s purpose and core values, they serve customers with the same passion.67 Teams are responsible for developing new ideas by analyzing customer feedback. This way innovation happens as a democratic process within the team, through small working improvements seeking to provide more customer value. It is not about a single genius coming up with brilliant ideas. Whole Foods believes that if an individual comes up with an idea and shares it with other members of his or her team, the team collaborates and improves upon the idea.68


Is sharing information worth the risk of revealing important information to competitors? Why or why not?

What would each of these self-directed teams need to be successful?

How would the way store managers manage be different in a team- based organization like Whole Foods as opposed to other supermarkets?

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