The anti-ceo playbook

The Anti-CEO Playbook

The traditional CEO playbook tells you everything about how to run a business except how to be a noble leader. That requires the anti-ceo playbook.

Hamdi Ulukaya is the owner of Chobani Yogurt. After I read about how he gave 10% of the shares of the company to the employees about five years ago, I now buy Chobani exclusively for home and as part of breakfast at the monthly Attollo meetings. I let my wallet reward good corporate behavior as should you.

I just watched Ulukaya’s TedEx talk. He articulated the reasons why I started Attollo perfectly.

He starts by challenging traditional CEO playbooks that prioritize profits, shareholders, and spreadsheets over people and the communities they live and work in.

He states that what has made Chobani wildly successful is that they started out and continue to be a people-centric business rather than a traditional profit-centric business.

His business and plants have revitalized dying communities and they are lifting the poor and those in the margins of our society out of poverty by bringing them back into the workforce through sometimes unconventional means. He said that in one of America’s rural areas, 30 percent of the Chobani workforce are immigrants and refugees. He hired translators for the plants and bought buses to bring employees to work who couldn’t afford transportation. As he put it, it’s not rocket science. 

The anti-ceo playbook
My favorite flavor

He said the business that closed the plant that Ulukaya eventually bought as the first Chobani Yogurt plant wasn’t just giving up on yogurt, it was giving up on the employees, the local community and other small businesses in the area. He said the best part of Chobani for him is that the same exact people who were given up on by corporate America were the ones who re-built the plant and made it 100 times better than before. And they all have a financial stake in Chobani today. 

Ulukaya also said that spreadsheets are lazy. They don’t tell you about people, they don’t tell you about the communities they live in. He said that unfortunately, this is how most business decisions are made today. Those decisions are made thousands of miles away by a person who has their nose in a spreadsheet, rather than looking into the eyes of those employees they are laying off.

Hamdi says we need a new playbook. A playbook that sees people, a playbook that can see above and beyond just profits.

Finally, he said that if you are right with your people, if you are right with your community, if you are right with your product that you will be more profitable and more innovative because you will have more passionate people working for you in a community that supports you.

I found in Hamdi a person who is as altruistic and optimistic about the future of work and its ability to lift the poor from poverty as I am. He has proved that creating a person-centered company is the right path for business. 

The talk is just 17 minutes. let me know what you think. 

Similar posts you will enjoy!