Last night I finally had the opportunity to ask Alfred Josefsen, supermarket retailer Irma’s charismatic CEO, the one question I had been wanting to for a long time: “Why would your organization be missed if it ceased to exist?”. Well, it’s not the sort of question you just walk up to someone and ask. Sounds a bit morbid, perhaps. But the context was this. At an executive briefing attended by both of us we were all challenged with this one question to ask one other person in the room during the coffee break. The question is part of Jacob Bøtter’s NQ series and is also known as the obituary test.
Anyway, I (the naive, tree-hugging, time-warp hippie) was very pleased with Alfred’s answer. The world would miss a supermarket that wants to make a difference. That doesn’t go for the lowest (price) denominator and that wants to create experiences for their employees and customers alike (Irma always comes in among the top of the Best Places To Work list – and won it back in 2008). Alfred pointed to their exceptional culture and their passion to work with what they believe in. Decisions are made locally and employees have the freedom – and the obligation – to make decisions for themselves.
Hey, that answer was good enough for me.