The Container Store: a business model built on empathy

“Treat your stakeholders not how you would like to be treated but how THEY want to be treated.” This is Kip Tindell’s golden rule, which he has given to his teams to observe since setting up The Container Store in 1978. Empathy forms an integral part of the culture of this company, which has registered…

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Is organizational empathy profitable?

The last few years have seen the emergence of numerous companies staking a claim to “conscious capitalism” (Starbucks, Walmart, Whole Foods, Tata, and so on). Rather than pitting profit against social and environmental commitment, this new approach to accountability is designed to create greater value for all stakeholders. A key characteristic of these so-called “conscious…

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Ethical leadership as a reflex at Volvo Cars

What is the role of the organization in promoting ethical leadership? Volvo Cars is raising awareness around how to respond ethically to the kinds of moral dilemmas that leaders confront on a daily basis. Excerpt from Business Digest’s interview with Erica Wikman, Chief Compliance Officer at Volvo Cars: “Ethics is one of the most important…

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Leading ethically to strengthen collective performance

What exactly is ethical leadership and how does it affect your company’s bottom line? After studying the impact of ethical leadership on company performance for seven years (2006-2013), Fred Kiel found that ethical leaders achieve 5 times greater returns for shareholders than unethical ones. Extract from the latest issue of Business Digest: 1. The homo…

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Reconciling ecology and economics: An eyewitness account of sailor Maud Fontenoy

French sailor Maud Fontenoy has observed changes in the world’s oceans: “Waste is appearing, there is a decline in the number of fish, and the coral reefs are breaking up.” Business Digest presents her eyewitness account, which conveys a sense of urgency in regards to the need to protect the oceans and environment in general….

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Navigating the circular economy: A conversation with Dame Ellen MacArthur

Ellen MacArthur shares her vision of the circular economy (McKinsey, 4:30) How can we build a sustainable future? English sailor and world record holder for the fastest solo around-the-world sailing voyage, Dame Ellen MacArthur, advocates moving away from the prevalent linear approach to the global economy towards a different, circular approach. In the circular economy,…

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The real reasons to commit to environmental strategies

The idea of environmental responsibility has been burrowing its way into our minds and actions for several decades. And yet, the environment is still under threat — by the rising world population, global warming, and industrial processes that continue to eat up increasing amounts of our natural resources. Players in the private sector need to…

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Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently – and Succeeding

Why we chose this book? This story is told in a fun way, as a comic book, which is a refreshing change from the standard way of presenting case studies. It will convince managers that the pursuit of profit is not necessarily incompatible with a desire to promote the common good. Entrepreneurs Seth Goldman and…

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Business-building philanthropy

The effectiveness of philanthropic initiatives is traditionally measured by their social impact. But corporate philanthropy has many additional benefits. It is a means to open up new markets, strengthen brand image, foster employee engagement, and drive technological advancements. According to Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup Company for ten years, business leaders should not…

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Salman Khan: Using video to reinvent education

It all started in late 2004. Salman Khan was a financial analyst tutoring his cousin in math via the Internet. In response to enthusiastic requests for the same type of help from other family members, Khan began to upload videos on YouTube. By the end of 2009, these videos were receiving an average of 35,000…

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