Recently, internal competition got so intense that company leaders asked the stores to tone it down.“Whole Foods is a social system,” Mackey, 42, explains. We don’t have lots of rules handed down from headquarters in Austin. It’s a stumbling giant with shrinking sales, razor-thin margins, and chronic labor troubles.Too often, the shopping experience is synonymous with bruised produce, bad lighting, long lines, and surly cashiers.
Plenty of companies talk the talk of empowerment, autonomy, and teamwork.
That’s because teams — and only teams — have the power to approve new hires for full-time jobs.
Store leaders screen candidates and recommend them for a job on a specific team.
But how the company positions itself is not nearly as compelling — or instructive — as how it manages its operations.
Its values are soft-hearted; its competitive logic is hard-headed.“There’s this notion that you can’t be touchy-feely and serious,” says cofounder and CEO John Mackey. There’s plenty of managerial edge in this company — the culture creates it.”The Whole Foods culture is premised on decentralized teamwork.