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[MMM] The three “secret” ingredients to healthy organizations

Let’s face it, it really is the most wonderful time of the year if you like to eat. My weakness is sweets. For me nothing beats a great homemade shortbread cookie.

 

The secret to shortbread is two things: the right recipe and the best ingredients you can afford.

 

This week I heard Jeff York, the President of Farm Boy, speak. If you haven’t seen a Farm Boy yet, you will. They are the Canadian’s equivalent to Whole Foods and will be opening a bunch of new stores in Toronto. They are my personal go to place for grocery shopping.

 

Building a business like Farm Boy and baking short bread have much in common. Both need the right recipe and ingredients.

 

Farm Boy was a small regional chain serving eastern Ontario owned by three brothers. Shopping there is completely different than the traditional big box grocery chains.

 

Their mission is:

 

  • The best foods
  • The best shopping experience
  • Making life better

 

Farm Boy’s recipe is very simple:

 

  • Hire nice people who are passionate about food.
  • Provide a warm atmosphere through smaller store design.
  • Focus on local premium suppliers and don’t sell socks and Christmas lights.

 

Jeff shared that every employee that is hired has three interviews and must tick these three boxes:

 

  • They are nice.
  • We would like working with them.
  • They work hard.

 

Their recipe is working extremely well, they have just been acquired by Sobey’s for $800 million. They will be on an aggressive growth track, especially in the Toronto area.

 

Farm Boy is a wonderful Canadian example of how to lead and grow a business in a mature market against an extremely competitive landscape.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your recipe and what ingredients can you combine to “Make life. Better.”?

 

Leading along the road with you,

 

Alan

 

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