The Way You Confront the Brutal Facts Can Mean the Difference Between Good and Great

Audio Transcript

As we went through the research, I was really struck by just how differently these paired twins would confront the same realities, or not. You look at Kroger and A&P in the late 1960s, and they’re both confronting the exact same world. The world was changing under their feet. A&P goes out and realizes that they’ve got all these old-style grocery stores that were really depressing, but they were right for the Depression Era. And so did Kroger. 

Then A&P began to run experiments, and guess what they found? The future was probably going to be in these things called superstores. An inflection point was taking place under their noses. So, the A&P people started this thing called the Golden Key. Data came back: people loved the Golden Key. But the implication of it was terrifying. Think about it for a minute. If the data from the Golden Key is right, that means our entire system is wrong. Everything we built for one hundred years is going to need to be thrown out—everything in terms of the actual stores themselves. We are going to actually have to turn over our whole system into superstores. A&P’s response was to pull out a gun, put it to the temple of the Golden Key, and pull the trigger. Bang. 

Kroger ran experiments. Same world. Same data. And they looked at it and they said, “You know what this means? These superstore experiments were working. That must mean our whole system is going to have to be wrong.” 

What did they do? They pulled out a gun and went to the temple of every one of their old stores, terminating them or turning them into superstores. Completely different response to the exact same reality.

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