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
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
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
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
1. Where is my industry going
and where should it go?
2. Where is the sytem unfair or
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?