The Lead: Amazon Decreases Whole Foods Prices, Homeland Security Steps Down, Building a Stronger Paradise

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Amazon Decreases Whole Foods Prices

With disappointing turnouts of Prime customers shopping at Whole Foods, Amazon aims to entice them with lower prices. Amazon strives to both convert Whole Foods’ shoppers into Prime members and convince its 100 million Prime members in the U.S. to grocery shop at Whole Foods. Currently, only about 18% of Prime members shop at Whole Foods at least once per month and 70% of Prime members report that they rarely or never shop at Whole Foods.

Our View: Customer strategy is about more than playing defense against competitors. Business leaders must match their company culture with their customer strategy. In other words, link your customer strategy to your company’s overall identity. When leaders truly know what their company stands for and its strongest capabilities, they are able to link the rights processes and emotional elements with all customer strategic facets, including pricing. Further Reading

Homeland Security Secretary Steps Down

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is stepping down, and current commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan will serve as acting DHS secretary. White House senior adviser Stephen Miller is reportedly actively working to shakeup the Trump administration, but it’s not confirmed that Miller played a direct role in Nielsen’s resignation.

Our View: Leadership transitions go smoothest when there is some overlap. The new leader should connect with the previous leader to maximize the knowledge exchange. A large part of transitioning is understanding the activities and culture of the former leader’s team in order to pave the way for change and manage the learning curve for everyone involved. Further Reading

Building a Stronger Paradise

Five months ago, the town of Paradise was destroyed in the Camp Fire that blazed through Butte County, California. While it will likely take a decade to fully rebuild the town, survivors are already slowly beginning to return. One survivor said, “Losing everything has made me stronger.”

Our View: Dealing with loss, whether it’s personal or business, creates opportunities for growth. Rebuilding to something better often requires pretending to be optimistic with your actions before your mindset catches up. Further Reading

Clearing the Clutter with Rising Celebrity Marie Kondo

Japanese organizer Marie Kondo began her climb to fame with her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” which was released in 2014. More recently, her Netflix series “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” has sparked a clutter clearing movement throughout the U.S. with the mantra “only keep items that bring you joy.”

Our View: Clearing the clutter isn’t just for housekeeping and material objects. Your business can benefit from streamlining. Beyond a cost-cutting exercise, streamlining can make your company leaner and more agile. Automating, outsourcing to contractors, and telecommuting are great places to start to “trim the fat” at your organization. Further Reading

Agriculture Industry Forecast

Randall Pope, the retired director and senior advisor at The Westchester Group, predicts that agricultural land will provide an excellent return on investment in the coming years due to the world’s rapidly growing population and movement from people in poverty into the middle class. (The shift is predicted to make food a pricier commodity.) Currently, agriculture, food, and related industry’s contribute $992 billion towards the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, and farms alone directly contributed $136.7 billion towards GDP (about 1%).

Our View: When it comes to forecasting the future of your industry and business, leadership is more important than big data or the tools you use. Sophisticated forecasting instruments can be useful, but an overall strategic leadership approach is required. Leadership is what merges multiple perspectives into a sensible forecasting approach that optimizes the validity and practicality of the forecast. Further Reading

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