Last month, we celebrated the incredible year of Social Capital by highlighting some of the smartest and most compassionate CEOs in America with our “Heroes of American Business — IBT’s First Annual Social Capital TOP 100.” What an incredible journey it has been for us and for them.
Now, we take a look back at the most-read articles in this groundbreaking section over the last twelve months. Though some may say crediting these leaders with saving the world is a stretch, we think it is wholly appropriate, especially considering the premise of Social Capital.
Because truly saving the world is all about taking care of people. Without people, nothing else matters — period. These leaders realize that, and they pull out all the stops to treat people respectfully, fairly and, most importantly, as the end and not the means of their business.
That has been even more crucial recently, since we are in an incredibly challenging time in our nation and our world, but also a very exciting one. While the pandemic and a host of other social, cultural and geo-political issues have caused much strife and struggle in our nation and our world over the last few years, the CEOs whom we honored have stepped up to the plate not only to achieve success economically but to make the world and the worlds they run a whole lot better with their people-centric approach. And, ultimately, those heroic efforts and actions are changing how business looks and how we all look at business — forever.
Their goals, insights and actions have all revolved around taking care of people in dynamic and incredibly effective ways. And they have shared some of those amazing experiences and perspectives on how they did what they do in powerful articles and Q and A’s with us at IBT.
Whether through programs and policies to help their employees, by being there for their customers in unprecedented ways, or by helping the people of their communities and beyond through the storm, these leaders nobly demonstrated what it means to lead in all the right ways in order to preserve and protect the full potential of capitalism to help all rise to their greatest potential prosperity and potential.
So here, without further ado, are the TOP 10 most-read and -downloaded entries of the past year. We hope they will change your world as much as the worlds they have already changed.
Number 1 most-visited Social Capital article: “Do You Care?” by Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes
Cheryl Bachelder’s story helped us launch our Social Capital section last year. Her style of leading Popeye’s with a focus on the human side of her employees was one of the first we spotlighted, in the feature article “SOCIAL CAPITAL: WHAT is it? DO you have it? HOW do you earn it?”
As we describe more fully in that article, Cheryl rebuilt Popeye’s by being not just a great business strategist but also a friend and co-worker who cared as well as a CEO, treating franchisees, their employees and even customers like family as she took the company from floundering to fantastic success.
The author of “Dare to Serve” continues to be a force in the business community. Cheryl serves as a board member to a slew of other companies and mentors CEOs behind the scenes on how to be humble so they can be more approachable and, subsequently, more credible leaders.
Following her debut in “SOCIAL CAPITAL: WHAT is it? DO you have it? HOW do you earn it?” Cheryl shared her thoughts in depth on a very human side of business. In “ Do You Care? ” she contrasts the lip service we pay to “caring” with showing a real concern through actions. A key part of her message is, “Practice the caring behaviors that are difficult for you — and important to the other person. You won’t improve without effort. No pain, no gain. When you fall short, apologize and try again.” And brings it to the personal level when she shares, “For me, I must practice patience — it just doesn’t come naturally to me.”
We invite you to read Cheryl’s full article here: Do You Care?
Number 2 most-visited Social Capital article: “Delta REALLY Loves Their Customers – And CEO Ed Bastian Is a Big Reason Why!” a Q and A with Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines
After we honored Ed Bastian in our feature article “10 Of America’s Top CEOs Talk with IBT’s Social Capital About How To Be Authentic,” we had the pleasure of sitting down with him for an in-depth Q and A.
Ed really takes the cake for being compassionate, caring and dedicated to his employees and customers, even going so far as quitting the company over it. After working his way up to senior vice president at Delta in 2005, Ed resigned rather than compromise his principles when the company took a hard-bottom-line approach to its difficult financial times.
As we describe more fully in “10 Of America’s Top CEOs Talk with IBT’s Social Capital About How To Be Authentic,” Ed was b rought back six months later as chief financial officer by then-CEO Gerald Grinstein, and he brought Delta back to life with integrity after his return.
Following this article, we had the opportunity to speak with Ed directly. In “Delta REALLY Loves Their Customers – And CEO Ed Bastian Is a Big Reason Why!” as we explored the many ways Delta stepped up to the plate during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by being even more attentive to the needs of its employees, its customers and the community, Ed spoke candidly about valuing people over profits, persevering during the pandemic, and the important lessons he learned from his mom.
We invite you to read Ed’s full interview here: Delta REALLY Loves Their Customers – And CEO Ed Bastian Is a Big Reason Why!
Number 3 most-visited Social Capital article: “The Possibilities AND the Pitfalls of Remote Work” by Robert Glazer, Founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners
Robert Glazer was one of the first CEOs who caught our attention for our debut Social Capital feature “SOCIAL CAPITAL: WHAT is it? DO you have it? HOW do you earn it?” for a leadership style that has earned his affiliate marketing agency high marks and a regular place among Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” and himself the honor of twice being named No. 2 on Glassdoor’s list of “Top CEOs of Small and Medium Companies in the US.”
That’s especially amazing since he doesn’t even own a building for his employees to work in. His company has always been remote, which really gave him incredible insights into how to adapt the whole work-from-home transition that happened after Covid struck.
And that is the topic he takes on his article “The Possibilities AND the Pitfalls of Remote Work.” Using the pandemic-induced work-from-home explosion as his starting point, he addresses what he has seen as a distrustful attitude that is common among business leaders: “Whether they would admit or not, many probably suspect their employees would not be fully focused or engaged working from home without anyone looking after them. However, this is a short-sighted, closed-minded way of thinking. The fact is, not only can most businesses excel in a virtual environment, but that can become a selling-point for both employees and customers.”
Robert’s approach to remote work is a strong tribute to Social Capital and is the reason we honored him in “SOCIAL CAPITAL: WHAT is it? DO you have it? HOW do you earn it?”
We invite you to read Robert’s full article here: The Possibilities AND the Pitfalls of Remote Work
Number 4 most-visited Social Capital article: “Bob Chapman Builds Colossal Success On Simple Premise: Treat People With Respect ,” a video interview with Bob Chapman, CEO and Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller
Heading a vast empire of manufacturing companies puts Bob in the spotlight as a business leader, but that’s not the reason we spotlighted him in our Social Capital feature “The New Revolution: Access ”
Rather, it is his unusual management philosophy that made him stand out to us — he believes the purpose of a successful company is to make its employees successful.
He had already turned around what had been a struggling bottle washer business when he inherited it in 1975. But while reflecting on his success, he had an epiphany: He was not in business for the sake of the company, but the company was in business for the sake of the lives involved with it.
He went further into that in our exclusive interview, “Bob Chapman Builds Colossal Success On Simple Premise: Treat People With Respect,” an exciting interview in which he dropped name after name of other business leaders he has helped and/or who have sought him out for more insights on this powerful business philosophy.
Bob’s friendly manner throughout his exclusive interview for our Social Capital section belies his passionate conviction that this is the right way and the best way to do business. As he told organizational professors from Washington University in St. Louis, visiting one of his Barry-Wehmiller manufacturing plants, “Our product is our people. We build great people who do extraordinary things.”
We invite you to listen to Bob’s full interview here: Bob Chapman Builds Colossal Success On Simple Premise: Treat People With Respect
Number 5 most-visited Social Capital article: “What Led CEO Roger Hochschild To ‘Discover’ His Simple And Sincere Approach To Diversity?” a video interview with Roger Hochschild, CEO and President of Discover Financial Services
Being part of a revolutionary approach to credit cards and the ready access they provide to capital for ordinary, everyday people was what we initially saw as worthy of recognition when we honored Roger Hochschild in “ The POLITICS of EMPOWERMENT in American Business .”
Throughout his two decades at the helm of Discover Financial Services, he has upheld the company mission “to help people spend smarter, manage debt better, and save more so they achieve a brighter financial future” and its goal to be the “leading direct bank and payments partner.”
But what was even more compelling were the incredible revelations he shared during our follow-up interview “What Led CEO Roger Hochschild To ‘Discover’ His Simple And Sincere Approach To Diversity?” about how he empowers and respects the diversity of Discover’s employees with a revolutionary and organic approach that comes straight from the heart.
Yes, it’s a giant, multinational corporation. But Roger has been devoting himself to running it like a small business.
We invite you to listen to Roger’s full interview here: What Led CEO Roger Hochschild To ‘Discover’ His Simple And Sincere Approach To Diversity?
Number 6 most-visited Social Capital article: “Success Is Really About Being Happy – And Hiring Happy People ,” a Q and A with Brian Scudamore, Founder and CEO of 1-800-Got-Junk?
Brian Scudamore epitomizes the iconic Horatio Alger success story. He went from high school dropout looking for a summer job to a “blue-collar millionaire” with a simple albeit brilliant idea to turn troublesome trash into a positive customer experience. But, as exciting and inspirational as that is, it’s not the reason we honored him in our Social Capital feature “10 Of America’s Top CEOs Talk with IBT’s Social Capital About How To Be Authentic.”
No. We recognized this down-to-earth guy because he continues to demonstrate that he cares about his company’s success and knows the way to get there is by treating people well.
And one measure of determining the health of a company and whether people are being treated well is happiness. His own happiness — or, rather, lack thereof – was the reason he scrapped his first successful company to boldly start afresh , from scratch, with a whole new view of success. This is the topic he discusses deeply and candidly in his interview “Success Is Really About Being Happy – And Hiring Happy People.”
Brian’s company now has about 160 locations in the U.S., Canada and Australia under his O2E (Ordinary 2 Extraordinary) brand, a half-billion-dollar business that includes house-painting company WOW 1 Day Painting and home-detailing business Shack Shine along with 1-800-Got-Junk? And the attitude we honored him for in “10 Of America’s Top CEOs Talk with IBT’s Social Capital About How To Be Authentic” continues to be his trademark.
We invite you to read Brian’s full interview here: Success Is Really About Being Happy – And Hiring Happy People
Number 7 most-visited Social Capital article: “Each of Us Can Make a Global Social Impact. Here’s How I Did.” by Robert Glazer, Founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners
Coming in a second time in this collection of fan favorites is Robert Glazer, whose relationship with his employees earned his affiliate marketing agency a regular place among Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” and himself the honor of twice being named No. 2 on Glassdoor’s list of “Top CEOs of Small and Medium Companies in the US.” The leadership that inspires this was what we honored him for in our debut Social Capital feature “ SOCIAL CAPITAL: WHAT is it? DO you have it? HOW do you earn it?”
A prolific writer, Robert enjoys sharing his experience and insights. In his second article for us, “ Each Of Us Can Make A Global Social Impact. Here’s How I Did. ” he chronicles the evolution of his communication style. While it is hardly unusual for CEOs to email their troops with motivational or team-building messages intended to boost productivity, Robert began taking a different approach: focusing the emails on topics that had nothing to do with company business. The positive inspiration he sought to convey was aimed at encouraging his employees to want to achieve more in all areas of their lives, not just at work.
The response was much greater than anticipated, which inspired him to take it to a higher level and try to use his emails to achieve greater benefits outside his organization.
We invite you to read Robert’s full article here: Each Of Us Can Make A Global Social Impact. Here’s How I Did.
Number 8 most-visited Social Capital article: “Jill Koziol and Motherly Celebrate All Moms As – Gasp – Successful Women,” a video interview with Jill Koziol, Co-founder and CEO of Motherly
We honored Motherly co-founders Jill Koziol and Liz Tenety in “SOCIAL CAPITAL: WHAT is it? DO you have it? HOW do you earn it?” for uplifting the self-image of millions of women through their genuine caring for women who were being patronized, marginalized or just plain not recognized — all because they didn’t fit into the societal image of mothers.
They created Motherly to be an active online guide and gathering place for millennial mothers that offers a popular weekly email newsletter that “empowers women in four areas: Work, Life, Love, and Child.”
But, as Jill shares in her exclusive Q and A “Jill Koziol and Motherly Celebrate All Moms As – Gasp – Successful Women,” this business seemed like such a no-brainer that investors were hesitant to fund it because they couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done already.
Discussing what it means to be a trailblazer in this space, Jill is very clear about what drives Motherly’s approach to offer evidence-based information and speak to its audience as the multi-faceted women they are.
We invite you to listen to Jill’s full interview here: Jill Koziol and Motherly Celebrate All Moms As – Gasp – Successful Women
Number 9 most-visited Social Capital article: “Why Chipotle’s Brian Niccol Is All for Spending MORE on Ingredients – And People,” a video interview with Brian Niccol, Chairman and CEO of Chipotle
When Brian took over leadership of Chipotle after the company’s highly publicized causation of an e-Coli outbreak, he rebuilt the company’s reputation and its profits by focusing on food quality throughout the company’s supply chain — even though it meant increasing the company’s costs.
But this was no media hype put on for show. Brian is truly devoted to making sure Chipotle provides healthy food served in a healthy place and produced in a healthy way that is good — both for consumers and the rest of the supply chain. The public has rewarded him through a patronage that continues to build the company’s success, and we added our own reward by honoring him in our Social Capital feature “10 Of America’s Top CEOs Talk with IBT’s Social Capital About How To Be Authentic.”
He acknowledges he sometimes has to defend this philosophy from those who point out that Chipotle spends more on food than others in the fast-food sector, but he maintains that “we’re a food company. If there is a place we should be investing, we should be investing in food.”
So, we were thrilled to speak further with this celebrated and compassionate CEO on this way of doing business. In “Why Chipotle’s Brian Niccol Is All for Spending MORE on Ingredients – And People,” Brian talks about all the ways he invests in top-quality food, loyal customers and his cherished employees — and why he believes it’s a non-negotiable way of doing business.
We invite you to listen to Brian’s full interview here: Why Chipotle’s Brian Niccol Is All for Spending MORE on Ingredients – And People
Number 10 most-visited Social Capital article: “ Selling Socks And Saving ‘Soles’ ,” a Q and A with David Heath, Co-founder and CEO of Bombas
The homeless are among the most disadvantaged people in our country, so the care David demonstrated in building a company around providing this population with the highly sought-after item of clothing and comfort — socks — is what earned him our recognition in “The POLITICS of EMPOWERMENT in American Business.”
He created a capitalistic solution rather than simply asking people to donate socks, or money to purchase socks. Bombas, his company, has succeeded on a grand scale — with current annual revenue of more than $100 million per year while donating more than 40 million items to 2,500 communities. That’s a whole lot of Social Capital!
But maybe even more impressive than the company’s revenue and mission is the depth of the founder’s dedication to teaching and empowering others to care and see their own opportunity to live their lives with a mission.
In “Selling Socks And Saving ‘Soles’,” David’s message is both heartwarming and compelling as he explains the nuts and bolts of how he’s leading the next generation of companies created to solve important human problems. And he’s not only helping to improve the lives of the homeless but helping millions of customers to find a deeper purpose in their own lives.
We invite you to read David’s full interview here: Selling Socks And Saving ‘Soles’
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