We’ve all heard about Market Basket, the 71-store grocery chain that operates in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The saga began when the CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, was fired about 6 weeks ago. And, the subsequent struggle to “get him back” has played out on every news outlet, online and offline, since. It’s been on Twitter (#marketbasketstrong), CNN Money, BBC and on Facebook where it’s “Save Market Basket” page has garnered 90k+ likes. We live in greedy Corporate America full of shady CEOs and their even shadier deals. No one expected this, the CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, included.
So, what can we learn from this very strange behavior demonstrated by its fiercely loyal employees, distributors, truck drivers and customers who have come to rely on Market Basket as their neighborhood grocery store? Market Basket is a part of many people’s everyday lives, including mine (@nirmalp) as a Customer. And, everyone wanted ATD back. Here are some lessons for Corporate America from this extremely unlikely act of kindness, generosity, loyalty and integrity demonstrated by everyone affected.
This wasn’t a protest against a non-performing CEO, for better benefits, working conditions or a pay raise. This was a protest, virtually unheard of in Corporate America, to bring back the CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas. Now that says a lot about his integrity, charisma, character and leadership qualities—and more importantly what he stood for.
Employees bring a stronger resolve than you think
I am sure when the first set of employees were fired, everyone in the C-suite thought that would serve as a lesson for the rest of the stakeholders. “Do as we say or risk getting fired” was essentially the message sent down. Boy, were they wrong. One after the other, all rank and file, employees, distributors, truck drivers and customers demonstrated their support. And, together, they stood strong. They wanted ATD back and were willing to put their careers and their livelihoods on the line to do so. No small feat.
There’s no Company without the Customer
As the protest continued, customers were greeted with ghost aisles and empty shelves. The disruption was widespread. It became apparent that everyone was all in. Customers were forced to take their business elsewhere. Raymond Santos’ tweet highlights the customer support that ATD received.
Don’t put profits before people
Corporate America has always been defined by profits. In fact, most of us are in the business of making a profit. There’s nothing wrong with that. But, an event like this makes you realize that the stakes are higher than just making a profit. It’s about your values, it’s about putting people before profits. The day a company loses sight of that, it stands to lose everything. We saw this clearly demonstrated in the case of Market Basket.
Are you a Market Basket shopper, employee, truck driver, distributor, floor worker, bakery manager? Were you personally impacted? Why did you support ATD? What impact did this have on you?