Discover what it takes to be a great CEO.

May 21, 2021by Shirley Palmer0

Discover what it takes to be a great CEO.

I thought I would share a good example having re-read a piece from John Mackey the CEO of Whole Foods. He said:

“The tremendous success of Whole Foods Market has provided me with far more money than is necessary for my financial security or personal happiness. I am now 53 years old, and I have reached a place in my life where I no longer want to work for money but simply for the joy of work itself and to better answer the call to service that I feel so clearly in my own heart. Beginning on 1 January my salary will be reduced to $1 a year.” (He is now 67).

I wonder how many CEO’s today irrespective of their sector, have taken the same or similar stance as Mr. Mackey? And would you do the same thing if you were in his position – that is the million-dollar question?

“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic.”

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks

Fourteen years on from his decision John is still CEO of Wholefoods helping it grow to over 500+ stores globally. The business has been included on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the last 20+ consecutive years.

In 2013 he co-authored ‘Conscious Capitalism’, A New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and set up a non-profit organisation. John was innovative in his approach and could already see the need for more forward-thinking businessmen and woman who recognise how the next generation was shifting and changing their attitude towards products, purpose, creating value, the commitment to change and making the world a better place. A discerning yet powerful ethos to hold.

John went on to publish ‘The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity’ – a fascinating read. If you would like to learn more about John’s thoughts on how to live a longer and healthier life, you can check out an interesting interview by Dan Schawbel in this Forbes article. He has devoted his life to selling natural and organic food, is one of the most influential advocates in the movement of organic food and has built a much better business model.

Despite having sold the business to Amazon in 2017 and now having Jeff Bezos as a boss he continues his philosophy in elevating humanity through business. No matter what business you are in it is always important to have:

  • great ethics,
  • a sense of purpose,
  • creating huge value for your customers,
  • and of course, your work force too.

His most recent book ‘Conscious Leadership’ co-authored with Steve McIntosh and Carter Phipps both co-founders of the Institute of Cultural Evolution is a superb read and will act as added inspiration for any CEO who wants to create a more sustainable, purpose-driven and ethical business today.

In my opinion it is important to find a purpose, a reason to get up every day, to help others, and to grow a phenomenal business that truly means something to the world and is not just a money churning machine.

“If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning.”

Larry Page, Ex – CEO of Alphabet (parent of Google)

If you are feeling unfulfilled, lacking direction or ethos with no real purpose in your life – then book in a Genius Zone Consult to discover what your current challenges are and explore how I can support you in solving those challenges.


Lastly, ask yourself what will you do to make a difference today?

Shirley Palmer

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Copyright by Shirley Palmer. All rights reserved.

Copyright by Shirley Palmer. All rights reserved.