“I think we have to become more conscious of the kind of cultures that we create in organizations. We want to create cultures where human beings are empowered, they flourish and they’re able to self-actualize themselves.”
These are the words of Whole Foods Market Co-CEO John Mackey during an interview with Steve Forbes on his book “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business”. In the book, Mackey outlines four principles by which some of America’s most successful and highly regarded companies operate: higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture/management.
I can identify with these four principles and strive to implement similar ideas within my own organization. I am particularly passionate about creating a people-centric culture that encourages growth of our team members, improves our productivity, and enhances our ability to innovate and respond to challenges.
During my professional journey from Wall Street to state government to economic development, I have seen the differences between companies that focus on their people and those that do not. It is evident to me that strong, smart and healthy organizations are built by employees who feel valued and are clear about their roles and responsibilities.
I recently attended a three-day training in St. Louis that reinforced these beliefs. It was hosted by Barry-Wehmiller Companies, a $1.5 billion global capital equipment and engineering consulting company that “prefers to measure its success by the way they touch the lives of people.” It is led by Chairman and CEO Bob Chapman, who took over the struggling bottle washer business in 1975 and turned it into a corporation of 54 acquired companies with 7,000 employees around the world.
Over the past decade, Chapman has championed a company culture focused on “bringing out the best in its people through communication, trust, celebration, respect, continuous improvement and responsible freedom.” He founded a learning institute teaching these principles and has spoken widely on the topic of “Truly Human Leadership.”