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Regarding Monday's story detailing all the executive and organizational changes taking place at Delhaize America and its various chains, one MNB user wrote:

I've thought about your Monday article regarding Delhaize.

I'm pretty surprised you chose to post large segments of an internal memo in that manner. I understand you indicated that it would have been difficult to summarize, but I feel that was in poor form.

Sure - you can feel comfortable that it was somehow out there for public consumption. Various opinions on these types of things exist I'm sure.

Your commentary references to Atlanta burning and the Titanic provided an inflammatory impact to an already difficult situation, regardless of how they were couched.

Your outline also seems to miss the idea that perhaps these changes are long overdue and the organization perhaps was suffering and at risk by the fact that they have not been made.

While difficult, many of us here are encouraged by the changes being made and having someone with the stones and intellect needed to be decisive and keep us moving forward.

"My view" from a seat in the roller coaster at least.


This is an entirely fair criticism.

When I posted so much of the internal memo, I did so - and I said this at the time - because I thought that the tone and detail of the memo defied easy characterization. I thought that it made sense to simply post much of it, and let people draw their own conclusions and inferences.

I also wanted to be completely fair to Delhaize. I've been hearing from people on both sides of the issue, though many called me on the phone because they did not want to be quoted. So I wanted to lay out the facts and both sides of the argument, in part because I was not prepared to make a judgement either way on all the moves. I tried to make that clear in the commentary.

I will also say this. Since the Monday piece ran, I've continued to get emails and phone calls. Here's one that I can quote:

Can you imagine being a young, energetic, talented and eager to be promoted employee at Delhaize America? I’d start looking for another gig, based on the changes Roland Smith just made. Maybe he should change the names of the banners too. And all of this without announcing the new top dog in HR. This is will make a lot of the younger talent in the organization look at themselves and say, “that could happen to me”. Smith diluted the sense of cultural belongingness, which isn’t healthy for any organization.

But the vast majority of messages I've gotten have taken the opposite position - that Delhaize America was desperately in need of new leadership willing to make hard choices, and that these changes - while seeming to be radical - are absolutely necessary.

I don't get the sense that this message is being communicated by people who are toeing the company line. Rather, it seems to be from people who love their company, who have devoted years of their lives to the company, who are wounded by the fact by so many of their friends and co-workers are leaving the company, but who think that in the long run, Delhaize will be a stronger more viable company for the moves.

Their passion is positive, not negative. I always find positive passion to be persuasive.
KC's View: