Tip Kindall, the founder of The Container Store, is a fun, light-hearted, and modest business leader, who emphasizes taking care of people and what he calls conscious capitalism. Here are some takeaways from his talk at Global Shop conference from a few years ago.
According to Kindall, ‘conscious capitalism’ is a system that works for everyone involved; customers, employees, shareholders, vendors, and communities (see the book “Conscious Capitalism” by the founder of Whole Foods.)
1/ Communication = Leadership
Communication is leadership.
We believe in practicing consistent, reliable, predictable, effective, thoughtful, compassionate, and courteous communication. What we also call servant leadership. Optimize all your relationships: customers, vendors, employees, etc.
2/ 75% of Employee Productivity Is Voluntary – It Can’t Be Mandated
Founder of Darden restaurants says that 25% of productivity is mandatory at work, in other words, it is required by your job. But the main part, the other 75% is voluntary. It cannot be required or mandated. People give the other 75% of productivity if they want to. So leadership and communication are hugely important to bring out this “un-requirable” 75% of what your employees can bring.
3/ Importance of Visual Selling in Retail – Perfect Product Presentation
Visual sales, because visual sells – critical importance of merchandising in retail. Merchandising is the foundation of generating impulse sales; Fronting and straightening product. Nothing less than perfect product presentation.
4/ Man-in-the-Desert Theory of Customer Service
If you find a man stranded in the desert don’t just give him a a glass of water. Don’t just provide the minimum solution they are asking for. Provide a complete solution. Put him in a lounge chair by the pool with a glass of lemonade and a massage.
The goal is to have customers dancing in their closets. It’s not just about upselling, it’s about providing a complete solution. Not just selling a product.
5/ The 3 Steps Rule
You can tell 3 steps into the door of a place, whether it is a business, a store or restaurant, if there is an air of excitement in the place; if there is a positive energy, if people are engaged, excited. The Container Store tries to achieve that.
6/ Fill the Other Guy’s Basket Up to the Brim
Business is not a zero sum game, you lose, I win. It doesn’t work, it’s not sustainable.
Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim. Making money then becomes an easy proposition. We believe in creatively crafting mutually beneficial vendor relationships; they pay their vendors on time, for example. The more you know about someone, the more you care about them; they get to know everyone they do business with. Business is not a zero sum game – someone doesn’t have to lose for someone else to win. Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim
7/ Capitalism Will Save the World!
Former president Bill Clinton with his Global Initiative organization is traveling around the world teaching that charity won’t save the world; business will. Micro-loans and start-up culture in third world countries are what develop communities, not only aid.