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Social Capitalists Find The Right Balance

I was at an event for McKinsey& Company alumniin Manhattan last week, and Dominic Barton,McKinsey’s managing director, shared something that really hit me. He said thatMcKinsey believes that the “leader of the future” needs to be a “tri-sectorathlete.”He or she needsto be able to lead for-profitorganizations, public (government) organizations, and social organizations.

I was at an event for McKinsey& Company alumniin Manhattan last week, and Dominic Barton,McKinsey’s managing director, shared something that really hit me. He said thatMcKinsey believes that the “leader of the future” needs to be a “tri-sectorathlete.”He or she needsto be able to lead for-profitorganizations, public (government) organizations, and social organizations.

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We’ve covered this growing influence before, and it seemsthat the public and social sectors’ organizations are commanding moreattention. They are recruiting more graduates, demanding more resources,playing a larger role in the national and global dialogue.

Today I met with a global non-profit that is interested inseeing how it can develop a revenue-generating consulting service of some type.It wants to find new ways to pursue its social mission by leveraging a broadglobal network of influential people in a way that is profitable and thereforesustaining. It is already helping several large multinationals launch newproducts and projects in far reaches of the globe that do good while they makemoney.

This emergence of social for-profit companies offers us aglimpse of what the new executive may look like – one that can find the sweetspot between social interests with stockholder expectations.

If a firm like McKinsey, which serves many of the largestcorporations in the world, is seeing the social sector growing into a requisitetesting ground for tomorrow’s leaders, then that is just more evidence of whatI’ve been writing about for months.

Looking at some of the business leaders I’ve interviewed,there are several outthinkerswho stand out based on ethonomic criteria.These people already represent what McKinsey is starting to look for – socialcapitalists.

Mikey Dobin – Senior vice president and co-owner of Valley Forge Fabrics. Rapidly ahead ofits competition in the “green” area, Valley Forge Fabrics is the first toproduce a fabric made entirely by post consumer waste (e.g., used paper andcotton).

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Charles Ransler and Manoj Sinha – Cofounders of Husk Power Systems, which iselectrifying rural India by burning locally grown rice husks.

Randy Eisenman and Sunny Vanderbeck – Founders of Satori Capital, the sociallyconscious equity firm that buys businesses it deems sustainable. Satori Capitallooks for companies that are working for all stakeholders and have a strongcompany mission and an appropriate timeline for success.

Mike Hokenson – Founder of Minlam Asset Management, a company thatspecializes in microfinance – lending low-income people small amounts of moneyand thereby dislodging them from the trap of poverty.

As we can see, a growing number of innovators are reachingthe same conclusion because they are adopting a new view of competition. Theysee the world as void of clear black and white, good and evil, cause andeffect. They see that social organizations can do bad things and for-profitbusinesses can do good.

Ask yourself thequestions below to see if you can find a way to blend financial goals withsocial needs.

1. Where is my industry goingand where should it go?

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2. Where is the sytem unfair orcreating waste?

3. Who would benefit by afairer, less wasteful system?

4. Who ELSE could also benefit?

5. Who can we partner with to make a more efficient and fair system?

About the author

Author of Outthink the Competition business strategy keynote speaker and CEO of Outthinker, a strategic innovation firm, Kaihan Krippendorff teaches executives, managers and business owners how to seize opportunities others ignore, unlock innovation, and build strategic thinking skills. Companies such as Microsoft, Citigroup, and Johnson & Johnson have successfully implemented Kaihan’s approach because their executive leadership sees the value of his innovative technique.

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