Editor’s Pick: Whole Foods CEO on Purpose-Driven Leadership

By Dave Hendrick

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey built a massively successful grocery giant with a definition of success that went beyond profits and losses. When he came to the University of Virginia Darden School of Business for a Leadership Speaker Series event in 2016, Mackey, who remains the head of the company following its recent sale to Amazon, described what he viewed as the most critical ingredients for the modern business leader, urging students to develop attributes like self-awareness and empathy alongside analytical skills.

“For the person with high spiritual intelligence, purpose is everywhere,” Mackey said, noting that the trait was the key to guiding one through difficult times at senior levels of companies.

And what does a conscious leader actually do? First and foremost, they become a servant leader who puts the purpose of the company first and, in turn, gets others to embrace that shared purpose.

Whole Foods is successful, according to Mackey, in large part due to widespread buy-in to the company’s mission. As a leader of the organization, Mackey said he feels a responsibility to help people grow as well as to personally evolve.

Read the original story on The Darden Report.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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