Conversations with the CEO
CEO, American Botanical Pharmacy
Living Our Philosophy
My big plan for American Botanical Pharmacy now is not to have big plans anymore. The big plan is to pay attention to the details and let the company grow as it is supposed to grow. If you have a big plan, you’re tempted to say: “Great! I can get a web site up and I can make this amount of dollars!” That kills the spirit of a company. The question for me right now is: How do we keep the core of the business together? My sense of how to preserve the core of the company is to keep paying attention to the details to make sure we have integrity in every place inside the company.
We need to be living our philosophy. Our plan is not to change who we are to expand for productivity and dollars, but to live our culture. In modern medicine, because pancreatitis is caused by an overflow of bile from the gallbladder, the doctor will say: “Let’s remove your gallbladder.” I am not interested in that philosophy. Our philosophy is: “Let us set up all the conditions around the body to support you in a loving, healthy environment, and let the body do its job. Then let’s get to the cause of the problem.” Support the body, then get to the cause. If you remove the gallbladder, you still haven’t got to the cause. It could be an abundance of fatty foods. The person could get the same toxic buildup again but is now less one organ. The way I want to build the company is the same way that we help our clients get healthy—focus on the causes of the disease, not the symptoms and take responsibility for the integrity of the process, and let nature deliver the outcome.
I am concerned about building the fabric of the company in such a way that the integrity is in every notch and mesh. If you go fishing to catch a fish, the net must hold all the fish. If you have a hole, they go out. I think in most organizations it is okay to have holes in the net. I am not interested in other people’s way of doing business anymore.
For example, we promote recycling. We do it in 75% of all the printed material we use. But there is 25% that we are not paying attention to. Most companies would say, “That doesn’t matter. We are doing 75%, so let’s go for productivity instead. Let’s get a website, hire the best sales team in the world, and sell, sell, sell!” My response is: “If using recycled material is what we are committed to, let’s go back and figure out how we get to 100%. Let’s see if we can get to net zero environmentally.”
The way to deliver on your commitments to your customers, employees, and the planet is not to focus on productivity. Productivity is a short-term gain. Helping people cure serious diseases or simply have more energy to live more fulfilling lives is a much bigger job. The biggest job in life, though, is to create a fascinating life. Most people acknowledge that this is the greatest mission in life, but nobody wants to do it. As an organization, we have to figure out how to live a fascinating life, and from that place, the goodness and health that we are about will grow, touch and heal even more people.
QUOTES AND INSIGHTS FROM THE CEO
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF NATURAL HEALING
"… I remember having a conversation with a mother and father. Doctors at a renowned East Coast hospital had just told them that a newborn was dying because the kidneys were not working. The newborn was too young for dialysis, so there was nothing they could do but take their baby home and enjoy his final days.
It was the newborn’s grandmother who called asking for Dr. Schulze’s Natural Healing wisdom. I remember saying to the parents that, from a Natural Healing perspective, there appears to be two choices. One, do nothing. Take lots of photos because those will be your only lasting memories. Or two, the mother can take her newborn, take all the clothes off, put her baby in a sling, go on Dr. Schulze’s 5-Day KIDNEY Detox Program and have her newborn suck on her breast, 24/7, thus creating a natural dialysis machine. What’s the worst-case scenario? The baby dies sucking on the mom’s breast, yet the newborn is as close to mom’s heart as possible, both feeling the deep connection that exists.
The best-case scenario is the kidneys start recognizing themselves and start doing the work that they were intended to do, which they haven’t done since the day he was born. Or the other version is you do nothing but listen to what the hospital told you to do, and in that the best-case scenario you need to buy the nicest clothes you can for your child, dress the child up and take a lot of photos because soon all you will have is photos hanging on your wall.
Interestingly, the parents opted to go for the mom’s breast, sling, staying connected and creating a natural dialysis environment.
Within a very short period of time one of the newborn’s kidneys kicked into gear, recognized itself and started working. VOILA! A year and a half later, I got a call from the grandmother letting me know that the child was alive and doing well. I do not know the outcome of that child today, but I do know that child lived well for one year and three months longer than any of the medical doctors ever believed, and I don’t have any reason to believe that newborn’s kidneys didn’t continue working and go on functioning, even if only on one kidney.
This is another example of the power of Natural Healing and the brilliance of Dr. Schulze’s common-sense approach. It just shocked me—create a natural dialysis machine using the mother’s breast. It was a brilliant idea. But the point again and again is the same; set up the conditions and let your miraculous body do the rest. Set up the conditions so that your body can do what it’s supposed to do, which is to prevent and heal disease. …”
WE CAN CHANGE THE WHOLE SYSTEM
“… For the most part what happens with Western medicine is they look at the symptom, not the cause. So Western medicine means, if I have cancer over here, the thing that I want to do is go kill and get rid of the cancer. Now, when you look at most cancer statistics, cancer comes back at such a high percentage in the years two through five, because what they did is they went in and they killed it, and annihilated everything else, but they didn’t set up any system in the body to start to repair and heal. In Natural Healing what we’re doing is trying to find the cause of things. If we can get to the cause and make a change there, we can change the whole system. …”
YOU JUST NEED TO BE POINTED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
“… About three years ago we brought in a few experienced “C” level executives/consultants from Fortune 100 companies. They came for short-term assignments to recommend growth strategies.
Just before the end of their assignments, I clearly remember personally feeling out of sorts. For the first time after being at this company for over 10 years, I did not like coming to work. I did not enjoy the drive to work. In all honesty, I looked forward to leaving and going home at night.
This lasted for two weeks.
At the end of the two weeks, I actually figured out what had happened. These consultants had gone into the business, and for all intents and purposes they were right from their perspective, but they told me, “Look, the pharmacy store is profitable. You need to franchise them. If you have any employees that don’t work out, you give them to Human Resources and put somebody else in.”
So, from their Fortune 100 perspectives, the employee was a commodity—a means to an end—and that was it. And by commodity I mean that the employee was viewed simply as the way to make more money. And if you made money, you could go and live the lifestyle you want. Go golfing. Do the things you want to do.
These consultants were bright people, very hardworking, and their analysis was good; it just didn’t work for me.
So I sat down with the owner, Dr. Schulze, and I said, “Look, there is a way to grow this company and be very profitable, and these outside consultants have a plan, and their plan may have merit to you.” I let him know that I thought it might be worthwhile to go down this path if that’s what he was after. But I told him, “I need to also let you know, if this is your path of choice, it’s not going to be with me.”
At that point we had a very straight conversation about our desires. I told him, “If we are going to build a company that is solely about producing a result and using fear as the main motivator, I was not the man for the job.”
I saw it all. I saw the pain. And, I made a conscious choice that I wasn’t going to go that way. If we want to build the “typical, profitable corporation”, it’s not going to be part of my life, and I don’t think its part of the solution.
The truth for me was to figure out how to build an organization that was both respectful and kind yet organized and disciplined, and was not just focused on the bottom line. …” “… The problem is, when you get to the end of the path of prosperity and you try to get over to the path of happiness, you can’t buy yourself over there. You can’t take a speedboat. You can’t get on NetJet and say, “Fly me over there,” and experience happiness. You actually have to go all the way back to the “Y” in the path and start over. And very few people do that. So three years ago, we were at this juncture in the path, this “Y”.
Do we take the company only towards prosperity, where we buy big toys and only go for bottom line? Or, do we figure out how to build an internal happiness inside the organization, that is the circulating pump—that happiness, that joy—that becomes the motivation to grow and expand.
Now, we are not there yet, but we’re definitely pointed in the right direction. Buddha’s big saying (and I’m not getting into religion, but I do like the great sayings of the world) is you just need to be pointed in the right direction.
You don’t actually have to be there. In other words, if you’re in Los Angeles and you want to get to New York, you better be pointed east. If you’re pointed south, you’re going to Mexico first, and you’re not getting to New York. If you’re pointed west, you’re going to Hawaii!
So the key gets to be is, what direction are you pointed? For me personally, ABP is pointed in the right direction. Yes, there’s work to do, but that just means we have to unlearn the things that we’ve learned.
That is the whole message. Life is all about energy. You’re either expanding or you’re contracting, and you have to have a belief system.
Gandhi was great because Gandhi fought for the truth. He worked on himself to find his own truth, and in his truth this little guy, who was pretty small in stature and weighed a lot less than me, stood up and changed a nation. Now, I’m not Gandhi, and I don’t want to be Gandhi, yet it seems that what matters is doing your own work to discover your truths and then standing for them both as an individual and as an organization.
We all have to work through our own process. The point isn’t so much the outcome. The point is the truth of asking the right questions and being in the discovery. Like: Where does quality come from? At ABP we discovered that quality comes from caring. Why our Creative Team at ABP is so strong right now is, yes, we’ve changed some of our processes, improved through iterations, but truthfully the biggest impact is that their leader has created a strong sense of caring and it shows in their work! …”
YOU CAN OVERCOME ANYTHING
“… In Natural Healing I promise you that if you increase the intensity, you increase the nutrition, you get rid of the waste and you build your immune system and you do it with all your intensity and all your heart, you can overcome anything.
With heart disease, the number one disease in America, you have some kind of blockage, your heart fails and then you die. Natural Healing says that blockage is the root of ALL disease. If there’s blockage in the heart, you can’t get the blood in and the heart can’t circulate it throughout your body. It can’t circulate the nutrients. It can’t circulate the oxygen.
The Call Center is the heart of our business. If we’re not getting calls, or customers are upset, and they’re not being well received, we have BLOCKAGE. If we’re not getting the orders out the door; if we’re not answering the customers’ questions; if we’re not following up; if we’re not showing care, concern and nourishment, it’s going to impact all the other parts of the business.
The power of Natural Healing doesn’t live outside in the world; it lives inside of me. The power of Natural Healing lies in understanding that your body has the ability to heal itself of anything if you set up the conditions to do so. That is a very, very, very important point; your body has the ability, the power, the magic, the vitality, the vibrancy to heal yourself of anything or to prevent any type of illness if you set up the right conditions for it to do so. …”