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This week’s guest is an example of a leader for whom business and advocacy go hand in hand. Malcolm Wood has founded many companies, including Maximal Concepts and its acclaimed flagship restaurant, Mott 32! Through his businesses and many other projects, Wood leads the way in environmental advocacy, driving change in the food and hospitality sector.
Tune into the full episode to learn more about how Wood has balanced entrepreneurship, advocacy, and work-life balance!
ADVOCATING FOR THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET AND OURSELVES
Wood has always appreciated nature and the need to care for it, and from that appreciation grew a love for food, produce, and farming. He became driven to learn more about where food comes from, how it’s produced, and how it’s cared for.
One of Wood’s major projects grew out of what he learned about pollution in the ocean and its impact on our own health through what we eat. Wood learned that “microplastics [were] coming into the food chain, coming into human health, and becoming an epidemic around the world.” Fish that live in polluted oceans end up eating microplastics, and the microplastics become concentrated as they work their way up the food chain - to us.
Wood joined the team making Plastic Ocean, a documentary about this issue, and now Wood advocates for changes that can help heal our planet from issues like these.
HARNESSING INFLUENCE FOR GOOD
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to change the world through advocacy, Wood advises focusing on slower changes and building your influence for later, bigger changes. “If you try to push some of your ideas onto your audience before you're successful, you potentially may lose them.”
Wood provides the example of plant-based food in his restaurants: if he had jumped into business with a completely plant-based menu, he may not have gotten the audience he did. Instead, he has led with menus that have plant-based options, showing restaurant-goers what’s possible.
“I always say that once I got to a place where I had a platform to be able to change people's minds, I now have influence over them. [...] That's one of the big things I'm always discussing: how to be influential in your ideas and how to convince people that this is the right way to do things. Because you can convince people by force, or you can convince people by influence or by example. And there's certain situations where one way is right.”
WOOD’S ADVICE FOR BALANCED SUCCESS
Wood has accomplished all this and much more, including his appointment as ambassador for the United Nations ‘Mountain Heroes’ team to draw attention to emerging environmental issues. But how does he find the energy to do it all and still have a balanced life?
“I think that there [are] a few things here. I think the most important thing is that you gotta look after yourself. If you are in the right mindset, if you're sleeping well, if you're nourished well, if you're exercising well, [then] you'll have the energy to do things. The second thing is organization. It's 80% planning, 20% execution.”
But Wood also reminds entrepreneurs not to forget the people they work with. “Building a company is not about driving everyone around you. It's about building people. You're not building a company, you're building a team around you. And the team is the most important thing. So the first thing we teach in all of our restaurants, all of our businesses, is [that] the customer is not the most important person. You, the team, [are] the most important [people]. And if you have a good team, you can accomplish anything.”
Tune into the full episode to learn more about Wood’s work with the UN and some of his other amazing projects!
Many of our Motivational Mondays guests are dedicated to building a better world through advocacy. Check out how another guest makes representation a priority.
Listen to this episode to learn about...
- [1:51] How Wood got involved with the restaurant industry and environmental advocacy
- [3:09] Wood’s involvement with Plastic Ocean
- [5:49] How humans are ingesting microplastics through their food
- [11:04] Wood’s involvement with the UN’s Mountain Heroes team
- [12:44] Wood’s newest project, the foundation Meru Projects
- [13:43] Wood’s advice for entrepreneurs looking to combine business and advocacy
- [17:30] Wood’s advice for creating the health, energy, and team needed for success
Tune in to the Members Only episode to learn about Wood’s plans for more advocacy-inspired business.