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Feb 11 2013

Liberate the Heroic in our Family Businesses

Last week I had the honor of listening to one of the business leaders who has influenced my worldview as it relates to business and leadership.  John Mackey spoke at World Café Live for a Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce event.  This is part of his book tour featuring his thought leadership on “Conscious Capitalism”, liberating the heroic spirit of business.

As a co-founder of One Village Coffee (Family Business Learning Community member), who supplies one of John Mackey’s companies, Whole Foods Market, this was an important moment in my own leadership journey.  “Business has a higher purpose than making money,” Mackey opened, after sharing his frustration with the dislike for business in America.

According to Mackey, “Business is the great value creator in the world”. It has the power to lift people out of poverty and improve our world.  As family business leaders we are discovering that stakeholders get the value we are building with our exchange of goods and services.

Internal stakeholders are the employees, shareholders, customers and producers.  The communities where the business services are exchanging are stakeholders as well.  These people voluntarily exchange their resources to benefit both the company and to contribute to the economic transformation of our economies.

Mackey wrote his book to the Millennial Generation because they are the business leaders starting companies with purpose, leadership, stakeholders and culture as the tenants of conscious capitalism.  Mackey wanted to give them a rational for building a foundation on a higher purpose, in order to liberate the heroic spirit in business.

“We are lifting humanity out of poverty”, is a mantra Mackey hopes will contribute to empowering business leaders to get off the defensive and join the movement of liberating the heroic in their business.  He challenged the audience to have purpose and continue growing in our awareness of how we behave as business leaders.

I left inspired to continue working with entrepreneurs and next generation leaders as they discover why they exist and claim their unique mission in the world through business.  I am eager to learn more from family business leaders who have unconsciously been building a conscious culture around the tenants of leadership, stakeholders, culture and purpose.

John stated, “Conscious companies are the great win, win, win, win, win…”

by Scott Hackman, Family Business Advisor, Delaware Valley Family Business Center.

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