I’m not just starting this business to make a profit, but to make a difference.

Thomas J. Watson

Chairman & CEO, IBM


I love learning and hearing great talks.  It’s almost an addiction for me.  So, when I saw that the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce was hosting John Mackey, Co-CEO & Co-Founder of Whole Foods, to talk about his new book, Conscious Capitalism, I immediately signed up.  I had the distinct pleasure of hearing his talk yesterday and came away knowing that I now have to buy the book.  (I’m also somewhat of a book addict.)  John’s approach to business is definitely what has caused many other companies to emulate his approach and philosophies.  I thought that I’d share with you some of the nuggets I gleaned from the forum to entice you to take to heart what you can use and implement:

  • Big business is under attack.  Yet business is also the greatest engine of prosperity in the world.
  • Business people need to re-conceptualize what they do in the world.
  • Businesses have the potential to have a higher purpose and create great value in the world.
  • Companies need a different type of leadership.  One that:
    • Is emotionally intelligent
    • Embraces spiritual intelligence
    • Takes a servant leadership approach
    • Creates a different culture to allow for people to flourish
  • Businesses that are socially conscious outperform in the market by a factor of 10x.
  • Businesses should aim for great win-wins creating winning for everyone they exchange with.
  • Companies need to show how they are helping to make the earth a better place since business people are currently being vilified, portrayed as selfish and greedy.
  • Businesses aren’t perfect and are often judged by their worst practitioners.
  • You can’t have a conscious business if you don’t have a conscious leader.
  • Personal growth of the leaders helps the organization grow and evolve.
  • John’s own practice for personal development is called SOUL:
    • S – stop (when you’re in the midst of anger, fear, frustration, etc.)
    • O – observe (see what’s going on in the situation and assess where you stand)
    • U – understand (take time to be compassionate and empathetic)
    • L – love (don’t get carried away by an emotional reaction)

It was clearly evident that John’s goal is to have a purposeful business and to create value in the marketplace for all of Whole Foods’ stakeholders.  His leadership approach is most certainly something that we can all learn from.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in the C-Suite or on the rise within an organization.  Being in business should be all about making a difference in this world and to create your own personal legend.

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