I’ve been reading Tom Kelley’s “Ten Faces of Innovation.” He mentions Whole Foods’ “Declaration of Interdependence.” Being a big fan of declarations, I decided to check it out.
I thought it was going to be more passionate, more “declarative,” but I didn’t get that feeling. Don’t get me wrong… I think it’s a good idea, and speaks to many of the ways that Whole Foods has structured their company. It was created by 60 team members, and kind of has that committee feel. There are many interested parties contributing their voices. And they’re doing something right; they continue to grow and get rave reviews from business magazines and industry experts. (Well, not as well as I had thought.)
One line that did jump out at me was this: “Customers are fellow human beings with feelings and emotions like our own; they are equals to be treated with courtesy and respect at all times.”
I think this is a key point, no matter what industry you’re in. Especially for those of us in the creative industry, we need to remember this. Not only for the work we’re doing with our clients, and the communication they’re having with their customers, but how creative agencies interact with their own clients. If you can’t communicate to people as people, you’re going to have a tough time communicating to them in a way they’ll be receptive to.
The other thing I like is Whole Foods’ honesty… “We do not believe it always accurately portrays the way things currently are at Whole Foods Market so much as the way we would like things to be.” It’s impossible to change things if you don’t recognize they need change.
Declarations show what you aspire to be. And while we may not always be achieving these goals, they are still important as guiding principles. It’s a bit different from a manifesto in that you’re not trying to convert others to your perspective. You’re saying what you want to be. And if you can’t be true to yourself, how can you convince others to be true to you?