Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship and Management’ Category

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2 Reasons KIND’s CEO Won’t Use The ‘E-Word’

JUN. 19, 2014, 12:19 PM

There are a few words Daniel Lubetzky absolutely refuses to use. “Boss” is one of them; “employee” is another.

“I don’t use the word ‘employee’ because it can imply someone is working ‘for’ you rather than ‘with’ you,” the founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks tells Business Insider.

Instead, he calls his staff “team members.”

Lubetzky says he can’t recall having ever used the “e-word.” “I just don’t like it,” he says. “Not using it reinforces the level of accountability we each have to one another.”

In other corporate cultures, he explains, you might be accountable only to your manager or someone else recognized as a leader within the organization. “Here, you are equally accountable to the person sitting on your left, the person sitting on your right, and the person you run into in the hallway. We are all part of the same family and on the same journey. Our actions impact all of our fellow co-owners.” (Every KIND employee is a shareholder.)

And this is so important, he says, because a culture of accountability motivates people, inspires them to be resourceful, and pushes creativity to new limits.

Choosing “team member” over “employee” is also “one small way that we manifest our commitment to one another,” says Lubetzky. “The word ‘employee’ can feel impersonal and, as such, doesn’t fit our notion of the KIND team as a family. Consciously choosing ‘team member’ over ‘employee’ also helps promote a culture of support,” he concludes.

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Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks, refuses to use the B-word.

  JUN. 4, 2014, 3:00 PM

Boss, that is.

“I’ve never liked what that word connotes,” he tells Business Insider. “A ‘boss’ has all the answers, whereas a team leader has the final word, but his or her decisions emanate from the wisdom of the team and from earnest discussion.”

A “boss” might also feel as if they’re above the rest, Lubetzky, a Mexico City native, explains. While a team leader treats everyone equally.

Another reason he doesn’t use the B-word: It detracts from the “sense of communal ownership that we promote at KIND by making every team member a shareholder and owner of the company.” And, finally, he says, words like “boss” can devalue the role of team members, when everyone has an equally important role to play.

So, when did Lubetzky decide to eliminate “boss” from KIND’s vocabulary?

Before the company even started.

“When the brand was conceived in 2003 with just a handful of team members, there was a shared sense of ownership and accountability — just as there is today,” he explains. Lubetzky and his team were committed to building something special together — and as the company continued to grow (its products are now sold in over 80,000 stores), they all worked hard to remain true to KIND’s core values, and to maintain the culture they set out with. So, there was never a moment in time where they paused and decided to stop using the word “boss,” he says. “We just never used it in the first place.”

Since its inception, Lubetzky has found that not using this word ensures open dialogue and maximum communication, which is important in any relationship. “It empowers team members at all levels of the organization to speak up, share their opinions, and respectfully disagree with those around them.”

But some team members — especially those who haven’t been part of the company since the beginning — find it difficult to refrain from using the B-word.

“I do have some people on the team, particularly those with 20 or 30 years’ experience, who are used to introducing me to others as their ‘boss’ or as ‘the owner,’ or they instinctively give me advice using, ‘your company’ or ’for you,’” Lubetzky says. “It takes a few reminders that it’s not ‘me’ but rather ‘us,’ and it’s not ‘my company’ — it’s ‘our company.’ And ‘we’ are all the owners.”

Interestingly, he says it ends up being these team members who most appreciate the attitude. “And because they are co-owners — financially, emotionally, culturally, and in terms of how decisions are reached — they don’t take it for granted.”

So, how do people refer to Lubetzky, the company’s chief executive?

“It’s most commonly just as ‘Daniel,’ or maybe, ‘the dude with the confused accent,’” he says.

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video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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I try to always avoid false compromises. At KIND, instead of ‘or’, we say ‘and’ — we call that our brAND philosophy.

These are my five rules for no-compromise products as written by Jeff Haden in his Inc. piece, The Zero-Compromises Product Strategy. See the full piece after the jump.

1. Bake your goals into your business model. Even if some of your aims are in tension, a goal you don’t set is a goal you cannot achieve.

2. Identify every assumption. The innovation process starts with recognizing the usual thinking and methodologies so that you can then find ways to challenge them.

3. Ask the right questions. Repeatedly asking, “Why?” and “Why not?” is the antidote to incorrect assumptions, especially if an assumption that was once valid is no longer today.

4. Focus on the future. Shortcuts are tempting when you manage for short-term results. Instead, let long-term goals guide you.

5. View compromise as the last resort. “Or” decisions are the easy way out. Challenge your employees to find a way–they will be better for it.

[Read more →]

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I found this WSJ piece useful as Warren Buffett teaches by example that we should all incorporate a sense of doubt into our personal and professional lives, always asking ourselves how we can do better. 

[Read more →]

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Daniel tells Bloomberg Businessweek about making KIND go from Small to Big this week. With an obsessive commitment to quality (and a goofy smile), Daniel keeps KIND’s brand promise to exceed consumers’ expectations. Read the full story after the jump.

 

By Julianna Storch

[Read more →]

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We tend to feel our generation invented so much, but the truth is most of what we do has been done before.

I was wondering this morning at Holidays as a community exercise: why does society organize itself so everyone has the same break at the same time? Why not celebrate rugged individualism and permit each person to take a break when they need it, rather than all at once? Is it part of how modern society is organized with work at the center of our lives, and the need to create moments where we all take a collective rest? But I then realized Judaism institutionalized religious holidays thousands of years ago, and I assume ever since society started to coalesce with any communal beat, with kids being taught at the same time, they figured out the benefits of this coordinated rites.

Then today I was reading this article by Walter Isaacson about Benjamin Franklin, and it reaffirmed that the more things change, the more they are the same. Or at a minimum, that much less than we imagine has been totally freshly invented.

I tend to think of mentors and friends like Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s and Howard Schultz of Starbucks as the fathers of social entrepreneurship. And certainly in our generation, and with work from groups like the Skoll Foundation, SVN, Business for Social Responsibility, Net Impact, and just overall historical trends and social imperatives, social entrepreneurship has gone from a neat exception into an increasing and irreversible trendline.

But Benjamin Franklin, more than 200 years ago, was already creating innovation that we think we are discovering today! From Isaacson’s Op-Ed:

These Rotarian instincts were nurtured in a civic-improvement club that Franklin founded as a young printer in Philadelphia. The Leather Apron Club was composed of enterprising tradesmen, artisans and shopkeepers, what he proudly called “we the middling people.” Instead of replicating the rigid hereditary class system of England, America should have as its backbone, Franklin believed, a middle class whose success came from hard work.

The Leather Apron Club discussed civic and political issues, devised schemes for self-improvement and formed a network dedicated to “doing well by doing good.” Its members helped launch a flotilla of civic associations, including militia and street-sweeping corps, volunteer firefighters, tax-supported neighborhood constables, health and life insurance groups, a library, a hospital, an academy for educating youth, a society for sharing scientific information and a postal system to help connect everyone.

Also:

Franklin also understood the beauty of diversity. During his lifetime, he donated to the building fund of every church constructed in Philadelphia. When a hall was being built to accommodate visiting preachers, Franklin urged his fellow citizens to donate “so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.” On his deathbed, he made one of the largest donations for the first synagogue built in Philadelphia.

And even more remarkably in terms of financial innovation:

In his will, Franklin left the bulk of his wealth to create revolving loan funds so that aspiring young tradesmen and shopkeepers could borrow a little money to get started, then pay it back so that subsequent young entrepreneurs could get a helping hand. These loan funds worked for more than two centuries.

There is a lot of innovation today on mechanisms to fund social enterprises and to do so in a socially enterprising way. Several years ago, friends and I thought we had been so clever to come up with a model that is similar to what Franklin came up with more than two centuries before! Looking back may help us find answers to look forward to.

[Read more →]

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Daniel is looking forward to delivering the afternoon keynote address at NYU Stern’s 12th Annual Graduate Marketing Association Conference on November 30th. He will be speaking with students about the authenticity of a brand in its efforts to integrate the social and the business. The conference will examine the new challenges and opportunities that technology has presented to marketers, and explore new ideas of how brands can build relationships with consumers.

By Julianna Storch

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The August 2012 issue of Washington SmartCEO features a story on Daniel’s friend, Fred Schaufeld. Schaufeld shares entrepreneurial advice for would-be business owners based on his experience as Chairman and Founder of N.E.W Customer Service Companies. See below for some his wise words.

Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, by Julianna Storch

Money isn’t everything: “The difference between people with money and people without money is money.”

Embrace Failure: “You’re not going to know if you can do it unless you try. One of the nice things about the U.S. is failure here isn’t death, and you learn more from failure than you do from college.”

Be realistic about yourself and others: “Surround yourself with people who are up to the task and be realistic when they’re not. Be realistic with yourself about when you’re not up to the task. You’ll do a better job when your professional life is in sync with your talents and values.”

Create a meritocracy: “There are no true meritocracies, particularly in a small company, because the only people who will work for you are friends, family, and fools. That said, you ultimately need to cerate a meritocracy to get the best people.”

Know what moves you: “Understand why you’re in the business. I found tremendous motivation in my family. I gave up ever being good at golf so I could spend time with my family.”

Ditch the ivory tower: “You have to be wiling to do what needs to be done, and it won’t all be done from up in an ivory tower.”

Delegate: “Learning to delegate is critical. If you are doing everything and don’t let go, you’re never going to get past the little location you started with.”

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