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Episode 101- Whole Foods Founder & CEO John Mackey on The 9 Ingredients of Conscious Leadership

October 15, 2020 • Book Club
John Mackey, Whole Foods

John Mackey is the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. He’s led the company from a scrappy startup to a multibillion-dollar business, and launched an organic food revolution. John’s new book, Conscious Leadership, explores his own leadership journey from college dropout to successful CEO, and provides a playbook for values-based leadership. On this episode, John shares his most valuable leadership lessons learned from four decades leading Whole Foods through tremendous growth and innovation. It will challenge you to rethink conventional business wisdom and reimagine how you lead.

Follow John: Website

Show Notes

  • The 9 ingredients of conscious leadership: put purpose first; lead with love; always act with integrity; find win-win-win solutions; innovate and create value; think long term; constantly evolve the team; regularly revitalize; continuously learn and grow
  • How John began his food awakening while living in a vegetarian co-op and launched his first natural food store in 1978 (1:57)
  • The wildly successful opening of the first Whole Foods Market in Austin in 1980 (4:45)
  • The exponential growth of Whole Foods (5:33)
  • The biggest challenges Whole Foods faced early, including a flood that almost destroyed the business (9:07)
  • What it’s been like to build and lead Whole Foods through its entire existence (14:14)
  • Why he chose the term “conscious leadership” (16:05)
  • How an attempted leadership coup in 2000 became John’s awakening to conscious leadership (19:20)
  • The three leadership lessons John learned from that attempted coup (23:37)
  • Why leaders have to embody the organization’s purpose (26:45)
  • Lead with love (30:28)
  • The behind-the-scenes story of the Whole Foods – Amazon merger (35:45)
  • Look for the “win-win-win” deal (I win; you win; the larger community wins) (41:01)
  • The hardest thing he ever had to do as a leader- firing his father in 1994 (45:55)
  • What happens when you outgrow your coach and mentor (49:27)

Resources / People Mentioned

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