Anyone who knows me well, knows my love for gambling, specifically blackjack and Texas hold ‘em poker – I love playing casino games due to the immediate satisfaction of winning. However, when it comes to gambling in business, I lean toward a much longer term horizon. My long-term horizon preference was once again confirmed at this year’s Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit, which took place in Austin, Texas in mid-October. Two speakers in particular hammered home the undeniable, positive financial impact of capitalism when practiced with a long-term horizon.
Ron Shaich, Founder, Chairman, and the now ex-CEO of Panera Bread, delivered a powerful keynote where he shared the historic three-decade performance of Panera. If you look at Panera’s financials back in the year 2000, the stock was trading at $3 and had a market cap of $75MM. In April of 2017, Panera was acquired by German conglomerate, JAB, owners of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee, and a variety of other notable brands, for $7.5 billion or the equivalent of $315 per share – not too shabby of an increase. Shaich believes the single biggest contributor to the company’s success was making decisions with the long-term in mind. Or better said, Shaich didn’t play Wall Street’s quarterly game. If you want to hear more from Shaich, check out this video from a few years ago.
The second speaker whose company’s success is measured by decades not quarters is John Mackey, the CEO and Co-Founder of Whole Foods Market. In the event you’ve been living off the grid for the past few months, you missed the major announcement that Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon. In a deal reported at just under $14 billion, the organic grocery retailer was snatched up by the web giant in a move that has many ‘experts’ puzzled.
To hear Mackey tell the story of the chance meeting with the Amazon team amidst the chaos of activist investors wreaking havoc on Whole Foods was nothing short of the kind of tale you’d expect to hear in a Paulo Coehlo book. What the future holds for the Whole Foods, Amazon merger is yet to be told, but what is abundantly clear is the fact that leading a company with a long-term focus on its purpose while staying nimble to the changing world, is a recipe that leads to sustainable financial performance.
Conscious Capitalism, a movement defined by its purpose of elevating humanity through business, is here to stay. If you aren’t familiar with the Conscious Capitalism movement, you can learn more by clicking here. Never has there been a more critical time in our history to use business as a force for good and bring more peace and prosperity to the human race.
– Brian Mohr, President and Co-Founder of Y Scouts