In a mammoth move announced this week, Walmart and Google entered a partnership whereby for the first time, Walmart will sell its products online somewhere other than its own dot com--on Google Express (Google's version of an online shopping center).

Starting in September, hundreds of thousands of products sold at Walmart can now be purchased using the Assistant on Google Home or on the Google Express website or app.

The combination of Walmart's low prices and selection and Google's data and voice mastery promise to compete with the ease of shopping Amazon. As the Google partnership announcement outlines:

"If you're an existing Walmart customer, you can choose to link your Walmart account to Google and receive personalized shopping results based on your online and in-store Walmart purchases. For example, if you order Tide PODS or Gatorade, your Google Assistant will let you know which size and type you previously ordered from Walmart, making it easy for you to buy the right product again."

Purchases will also include free two-day shipping (when minimum purchase thresholds are met) and the customer can even get a discount if they order online at pick up in a Walmart store.

So, both companies are getting serious about a common enemy. But here's what struck me most about this news.

The difference in the cultures.

Walmart's culture has been known to be conservative (after buying Jet.com they banned in-office happy hours, a Jet.com tradition), authoritarian, a bit cultish, and more bare bones. Google's culture is known to be more employee centric--a kind of work hard but get lavished, speak your mind and move fast culture.

Will culture's clash?

Research has shown that the number one reason failed mergers and acquisitions fail can be traced back to either the acquiree or acquired not wanting to give up key tenets of their social identity, forged through their strong association with their company culture. And while, of course, this is not an acquisition, it's an important partnership.

The key here will be that both sides establish a sense of interdependency.

And interdependency starts with having what I call 3C goals--goals that are Common, Compelling, and Cooperative.

The commonality ensures everyone is working toward the same end. The goal has to be compelling enough to create energy on its own and draw each person toward it. Furthermore, it has to be cooperative in nature--each team member must realize the goal is lofty enough that the only way the goal can be accomplished is by the team working together (versus a set of individuals working to achieve the goal in silos).

So here's to hoping that the two giants put the right goals in place so that our goal of never getting off the couch (and interrupting our binge watching) just got even more attainable.

Published on: Aug 24, 2017
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