Aside

Walking the Walk.

This story is telling!
Jeffrey Swartz, the CEO of the Timberland Co., strode purposefully into a New York office packed with McDonald’s executives. Dressed in a blazer, jeans, and Timberland boots, he was there on this mid-August day to convince the fast-food behemoth that it should choose his $1.5 billion shoe and clothing company to provide its new uniforms. The executives waited expectantly for him to unzip a bag and reveal the sleek new prototype.
“We didn’t bring any designs,” Swartz said flatly. Eyebrows arched. Instead, he launched into an impassioned speech that had virtually nothing to do with clothes or shoes. What Timberland really had to offer McDonald’s, Swartz said, was the benefit to the company–and the world at large–of helping it build a unified, motivated, purposeful workforce. “Other people can do uniforms,” Swartz said, his Yankee accent asserting itself. “This is about partnership. We can create a partnership together that will be about value and values.”
Compare that to this story:
The chief executive of Whole Foods Market posted messages on a Yahoo chat forum under an alias for years, talking up his own company while predicting a bleak future for Wild Oats Markets, the rival it has since sought to acquire.
Company CEO John Mackey posted messages on a Yahoo financial forum under the user name “rahodeb,” according to a court document filed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and postings on Yahoo.
The spin he tries to put on it in recent news over the weekend is almost pathetic. “I was just having fun.” Suuure, posting to a Yahoo Finance website just for fun. He had no idea he might, uh, move the stock? And, seriously, doesn’t he have something better (anything?!) to do with his life?
Uggh.
Which company would you invest in?
Which company would you select to work for?
Which company brings the leadership qualities that will leader to a sustainable advantage?
I know my vote. Do you?

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