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John Mackey on How and When to Be an Extrovert

After founding a highly successful and growing business, John Mackey confronted a brand new challenge — keeping his employees engaged. This is how he did it.

What’s the Big idea?

In 1980, visionary CEO John Mackey co-founded Whole Foods and eventually turned it into a rapidly growing, solidly profitable business. And then he lived happily ever after.

Well, actually, it wasn’t quite that simple. As Mackey learned, growing and sustaining a business is a full-time commitment. And once Whole Foods had its footing, his role in the company changed dramatically. There are certain skills that are required to launching a successful venture–namely, recognizing an opportunity and formulating a vision. And then there is the messy business of carrying it out.

Mackey found that this crucial stage of his business required him to act more as an extrovert, rather than an introvert. In other words, Mackey needed to walk the floors, interact with his employees, and transport his vision, in order to insure that others would carry it out.

Watch the video here:

What’s the Significance?

As Mackey tells Big Think, as a business grows, a leader has to grow with it. While he used to think it would be enough to be creative, if he failed to be an extrovert, it would have constrained the company.

This post is part of the series Inside Employees’ Minds, presented by Mercer.


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