Social Capitalists Find The Right Balance

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

We’ve covered this growing influence before, and it seems that the public and social sectors’ organizations are commanding more attention. 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 in seeing 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 broad global network of influential people in a way that is profitable and therefore sustaining. It is already helping several large multinationals launch new products and projects in far reaches of the globe that do good while they make money.

This emergence of social for-profit companies offers us a glimpse of what the new executive may look like - one that can find the sweet spot between social interests with stockholder expectations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask yourself the questions below to see if you can find a way to blend financial goals with social needs.

1.    Where is my industry going and where should it go?

2.    Where is the sytem unfair or creating waste?

3.    Who would benefit by a fairer, less wasteful system?

4.    Who ELSE could also benefit?

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

 

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1 Comments

  • Alice Korngold

    Kaihan, I am a fan of your posts and appreciate this one in particular. For the past 15 years, I have seen businesses place increasing value on their executives and professionals gaining leadership experience through nonprofit board experience. In fact, I've placed many partners of global professional services firms (including consultants from McKinsey) on global, national, and regional nonprofit boards, and then coached them into board leadership roles, for the very reasons that you note in this post. See this article for further thoughts http://www.leadertoleader.org/...