Part of the reason I started this blog was to help build the case for purposeful business. Not only do I want to highlight organizations that are succeeding in their pursuit but also to dispel the myths. One of the common misconceptions I’ve encountered is the notion that business must pursue purpose in lieu of profit.
Earlier this week, Fast Company profiled Hamdi Ulukaya and his journey to redefine the Greek yogurt category while also pursuing social good. Chobani donates 10 percent of its sales to charity, sources and uses all natural products, and employs more than 400 refugees. Yet, the company is dominating the Greek yogurt aisle and reported $1.5 billion in revenue in 2016.
As I read the article, what struck me most was Hamdi’s passion for both business success and giving back. Chobani Chief Marketing Officer Peter McGuinness gave this account, “He wants to grow the business and be a fierce competitor. But he’s got a giant heart and conscience and wants to do the right thing, regardless of market share, money, all that kind of stuff.”
This captures the growing movement of purposeful business leadership. They are “both/and” leaders. KIND CEO Daniel Lubetzky refers to this thinking as the KIND BrAND Philosophy internally. In his book, Do the KIND Thing, Daniel says, “At KIND, we pride ourselves on creating new paths and models that avoid that kind of false compromise. Instead of “Or,” we say “And.””
Tradeoffs are a part of business. There’s no question. Using locally-sourced, organic or fair-trade products and ingredients can be more costly than lower-priced fillers and substitutes. Committing to a one-for-one model is guaranteed to eat into potential profits.
However, some leaders are changing the question: How can we source ingredients locally AND improve margins? How can we expand manufacturing AND shrink our carbon footprint? How can we pay our employees fairly AND invest in growth?
“Both/and” is a catalyst for innovation and disruption. It’s how categories evolve. The work being done today will enhance the way we do business tomorrow. “Both/and” is also the framework from which a leader builds their commitment to pursue both purpose and profit.
When asked in the article whether Hamdi’s commitment to both business and doing the right thing caused conflict, Peter McGuinness replied, “The leaders of tomorrow more and more realize that having a strong head and a big heart is where you need to be.”