What does it mean to be a unique company and a Unique Self within a corporate environment? In this second installment from the seven-part video discussion series between authors Marc Gafni and John Mackey, they discuss Unique Self in the Whole Foods Market environment and how the unique company culture expresses itself and is felt by John himself and the customers who enter the stores. See these two exciting leaders and authors of new books (Conscious Capitalism and Your Unique Self) in creative dialogue throughout the seven-part video series, which will be available here in one installment each week and also on John Mackey’s blog.
John Mackey is Chairman and CEO of Whole Foods Market, as well as the Co-Chair of the Center for World Spirituality Board of Trustees.
From the video discussion between John Mackey and Marc Gafni on Unique Self:
John Mackey (starts at 7:54): That thing you just said about feeling good at Whole Foods is something I hear all the time. I travel around the country and different countries. People find out about my connection to Whole Foods, and they say, “Well, I love Whole Foods.” I say, “Well, what do you love about it?” And, what I almost always hear is, “Well, I just feel good being in the stores. I just feel good. I like the people there. Everyone seems to be sort of happy.” But, what they’re picking up on is the subtle energy field that Whole Foods Market’s culture emanates, so it’s not accidental that they’re experiencing that. That’s actually part of what Whole Foods is about.
I do find it interesting, that—of course, I’ve been doing this for so long now—that I can actually tell whether a store is well managed or not within about five minutes of being in the store because I can feel the energy. I can feel whether or not people are afraid, or whether they’re angry, or whether there’s some resentment going on because I’m sensitive to that Whole Foods energy field, and I’m happy to say that 98% of the time it always feels really good. But, occasionally, I’ll pick up something bad has happened. Some distortion in the field. That some injustice has occurred, or someone has been wronged, or someone was fired. Or something bad happened, somebody died, or there was a tragedy that’s got people upset.
Marc Gafni (starts at 9:35): There’s a contraction. I mean, here we really feel the sense of the Unique Self of a person and the Unique Self of a corporation. When you sit with someone, you know, there’s a saying in one of the great traditions of Spirit that when you walk in to talk to someone, before anything’s been exchanged, you kind of know everything. You either feel like you’ve expanded—someone walks in the room, you either feel expanded, or someone walks in the room, and you feel contracted. It’s true about a manager. When a manager walks in, does the staff feel better, bigger, more capable, more capacity, more creativity? Or, do I feel somehow smaller, more contracted? So, the Unique Self of a person actually creates a palpable field around them, and the Unique Self of a corporation creates a palpable field. And, the kind of wonderful play is the interplay between the two, to realize that actually when I come to, whether it’s Whole Foods or it’s Southwest Airlines or a company that’s really run on a kind of Conscious Capitalism kind of principled sense that my unique creativity actually affects the field. When I bring my Unique Self to it, I’m actually creating this field, and it would be different if I wasn’t there. And, it probably affects—you know so much more about this piece than I do—but it probably affects productivity because, I mean, most problems happen in the field. If I’m empowered, if I’m creative, then a thousand problems don’t get kind of bumped up, but are actually dealt with creatively on the spot.