Jonathan Begley

January 7, 2010

THE PRICE OF CHARACTER

Filed under: Character — jonathanbegley @ 2:03 pm

Compare my last post about Andrew Carnegie to John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.  The following is taken from the book The Trust Edge by David Horsager.  

“In the late 1980’s, Whole Foods Company Chairman and CEO, John Mackey, set the pay ceiling for his executives at no more than eight times the pay of an entry-level employee.  The ceiling has been raised a few times since then, but Whole Foods Company is one of the few international companies to have a pay ceiling at all.  Mackey successfully opposed the unionization of his stores, not because of a disrespect for his workers, but because his competitive wages and progressive benefits packages would make unionization counter-productive.” 

Not only did Mackey refuse pay raises for himself because it violated company rules, but Mackey also had a heart for his workers as well.  “Later, Mackey reduced his own salary to $1 per year, donated all his stocks to charity, and set up a $100,000 emergency fund to be used by employees who were facing financial problems.” 

Mackey is not the richest man in the world, like Carnegie was in his time, but to call his methods of doing business fruitless would be an obvious inaccuracy.  Mackey’s employees, colleagues, and “Fortune Magazine” saw not only a great businessman, but a man of great character. Carnegie sought to make money by whatever means necessary, then sought after acceptance and praise from his fellow man through philanthropy.  Character is not something that can be bought.

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