by Adam Zack — July 20, 2021
What’s your obsession? I was asked that question by a young friend Stephen this weekend as we were sitting with our families at the beach in Carlsbad. I was momentarily speechless. Was it a trick question? Was he asking in front of my wife to get a salacious answer? I’ve been asked “What’s your problem?” before. Many times, but that’s a long list. The question has so many potential angles. Obsession can be bad like addiction or good like attention to detail. It can be broad like a life goal of serving others or a gambling addiction. I didn’t really know how to answer and was processing the question when my wife answered, “Pool.” We got a pool table a few months ago and now we shoot a few games a night after work before dinner. We’re terrible, but it’s fun, it doesn’t matter who wins, and we are not quite as bad as when we got the table. It was a good answer. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and to be successful and have longevity in the grocery business we have to have an obsession with our stores. Whatever your business model – low price, prepared foods, conventional, gourmet, healthy, etc – your obsession has to be that. And your employees need to be obsessed too. No one has just one obsession. You can still keep your vices (hunting for, and drinking, rare bourbon is mine, I admit it) and your goals. Trendy obsessions and lifetime obsessions are all in play. I just never thought of it as a question. Thanks Stephen. So, what’s your obsession? And yes, I’m talking to YOU.
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