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Walter Robb – Chasing Profits & Leadership

February 20, 2013

I had a chance to listen to Walter Robb, the Co-CEO of Whole Foods last night at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.  He talked about a variety of issues, but two concepts resonated with me and translated well to education.

The first was a discussion about chasing quarter to quarter profits vs. building a business to be around for 100 years.  In education, the same discussion is about chasing test scores vs. developing a passion for learning and helping students become lifelong learners.  Quarterly profits and standardized test scores are easy to measure.  Sustainable business practices and developing lifelong learners are much more difficult to define and assess.  However, in the long run… easy to measure doesn’t mean it’s the right goal.

The second was about leadership.  He noted that being a leader doesn’t mean making all the decisions.  As a person in a leadership position in the community and district, it is easy to feel like I have to be involved in making a lot of decisions.  It is important for me to recognize part of being a true leader is NOT  being the one making all the decisions.

Thank you to the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarships for hosting the lecture.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2013 11:11 am

    As usual, your point is succinct and spot on. Thanks for sharing. The trick I guess is to satisfy the short term goals while achieving the long term ones.

  2. February 21, 2013 1:49 pm

    Thanks John – and you are right… finding the balance on short and long term is always a challenge.

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