I'm a sucker for a good TED Talk. I got my first taste of TED watching a favorite author of mine talk about creative genius. One of my favorites is a talk I still cite at least once a week about how our body language can impact our outward and inward perceptions of self.
When I saw in my feed that Chobani's Hamdi Ulukaya was giving a talk, I was curious about what he had to say. We've covered Chobani quite a bit over the years and I personally find Ulukaya and his leadership style captivating.
Unfortunately, I couldn't watch the speech live so I had to initially write this from second-hand wrap-ups from TED, Inc, and Fast Company. You can now view the speech for yourself below. It sounds like he offered some sobering recommendations for CEOs. His first recommendation? Find a new playbook.
In his talk, Ulukaya offered "Today’s playbook says: business exists only to maximize profit and make shareholders rich. I think that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. The truth is: business should take care of employees first.”
As someone who is an employee of a company (and not a CEO), I can certainly appreciate being thought of as an important component of my company's success. I also realize CEOs are under a lot of pressure to make a lot of people happy and serve multiple masters.
Ulukaya went on to outline four values or secrets he himself has used to turn Chobani into a successful brand not only to its consumers, but to its people.
- Take care of your employees. For most people, the company they work at isn't just a job. It's a big part of their life. "Take care of your employees and your employees will want to take care of your customers."
- Take care of your communities. Ask your local communities what they need rather than demand tax breaks. You know the saying Asking for forgiveness rather than permission? If you're leading a company, turn that around and ask what you can do for the community, not what it can do for you.
- Hold yourself accountable to your consumers. Even if you work in a B2B environment, be reachable and be responsive when a consumer of your product or service wants to offer feedback.
- Be responsible. Disregard the notion that you shouldn't mix politics with business. While you don't to spend company money donating to a PAC, Ulukaya does advise businesses should take some sort of stance, adding that “Business is in the best position to make a difference in today’s world, and business must take a side,” he said.