Okay its been a busy week and the weekend is here, but before you start blathering your opinions about Whole Foods John Mackey and his blundering book tour at that dinner party tonight, make some time to look at this story in the Austin Business Journal. Read it and perhaps you’ll understand why we still admire John Mackey despite his libertarian naiveté (okay shall we substitute honesty for politeness and say stunningly stupid statements) and confounding inability to step in you know what. (Think what happens when you walk the dog, folks).
Reporter Robert Grattan writes that Mackey and his co-author “argue that value is created by offering employees life-enriching work, supporting the local community, building relationships with suppliers and helping everyone involved reach their full potential. Instead of profit being the end of a business, it should be thought of as means to a business’ true higher purpose.”
Too bad Mackey’s unable to keep the focus on his book, lessening the power of its message. While this off-focus and critical attention is certainly the media’s choosing it’s no surprise given Mackey and his team’s consistent and near slapstick inability to focus attention on the bigger picture when he’s involved with the press. In other words, with such an important message in the book, one wonders why Mackey can’t avoid those obvious topics that are clearly going to put the focus elsewhere as well as raise the hackles of many pushing shopping carts in Whole Foods everywhere. Then again Mackey’s never played by the book, which is both his blessing and his curse.
Meanwhile, NBN has received more than a few emails from friends saying they love shopping at Whole Foods but Mackey is making it hard. With the growth of regional natural supermarket chains, the strength of many cooperatives a lot of hardcore natural consumers have more choice on where to shop than ever before. It certain Mackey’s mouthing off will hurt sales, much as he and others try to deny that they will. As for the founder of Whole Foods making an endless array of statements at odds (at least at first glance) with many of the social values that built Whole Foods is getting more than ridiculous.
Let’s hope this soap opera doesn’t continue. MEMO TO WHOLE FOODS: its time to tame the beast. As for those big displays of Mackey’s Conscious Capitalism in Whole Foods Stores, NBN wonders if they’ll be at risk of getting removed. Probably not but I’m sure more than a few folks at store level are wishing they would.