Reflections on Conscious Leadership: A Conversation with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining John Mackey, Founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, in a discussion about what it means to be a conscious leader – to seek not only to succeed, but to do good.

When the Arts and Business Council for Greater Philadelphia invited me to join their Strategy Salon, I jumped at the chance because so many of John’s leadership principles resonated with me as the Chief Human Resources Officer at CapTech. We are a company that lives our values – servant leadership, flexibility, intellectual curiosity, trustworthiness, enthusiasm – and brings them to every interaction with our clients, colleagues and communities.

The Conscious Leadership mindset John Mackey described provides actionable guidance for companies who strive equally for profit AND purpose:

Lead with Love and Always Act with Integrity: These two principles infuse every action and business decision for conscious leaders. But they do not necessarily come naturally in a business setting. They are skills – not emotions – that must be honed and practiced.

Seek out win-win-win opportunities: It’s a flawed mindset that tells us that if someone is succeeding, that someone else must be losing. Conscious leaders seek to create value for multiple stakeholders simultaneously: customers, employees, investors, suppliers, and communities.

Be upfront and transparent about your values: This means also being prepared to walk away. If you make it clear that you have no interest in deals that aren’t mutually beneficial, those who seek to take advantage are often turned off. Involve colleagues and trust their collective assessment of intent.

Learn continuously: Growth and innovation are only possible when we seek to expand our knowledge. Be humble and learn from others who are better than you. Lean into change and acquire the skills you need to stay relevant.

The entire event was really fantastic and I encourage anyone reading this to also click through to read the transcript of the event. Below you'll also be able to see some of my favorite clips.

As Chief Human Resources Officer at CapTech, it’s my responsibility to put these ideas into practice with our team of over 1000 consultants and by extension to our network of clients and nonprofit partners.

I’m proud of the work we’re already doing to promote innovation with our employee innovation challenges and client engagements and to foster diversity and inclusion through our hiring practices, community partnerships, employee education and policies.

But as John observed, we must continually strive to learn more and evolve. I look forward to continuing on the Conscious Leadership journey and to amplifying CapTech’s impact.

John Mackey On What It Means to Be A Conscious Leader

"Defining Innovation Presents John Mackey, Co-Founder & CEO of Whole Foods Market" took place on Thursday, Sept 24 at 10 AM EST. More detail about the event and panelists can be found here. You can also read the transcript by clicking the button below.


Download the Transcript

Suzie Turner

Suzie Turner

CHRO

As CHRO, Suzie is responsible for managing Human Resources and has 20+ years of experience in consulting and human capital management. She also has played a big role in expanding our business in the DC/Baltimore region.

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