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KIND CEO built his company on kindness

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When Daniel Lubetzky launched his own company in 2004, he also launched a personal mission: He wanted to build an organization based on kindness. Lubetzky has dedicated his company to inspiring others to live a kind life. His company, KIND, makes energy bars.

To advance his goal of spreading kindness, he created core values to guide his 500 employees to embrace kindness. Examples include:

Encourage frank feedback. At KIND, Lubetzky welcomes free-flowing feedback. He prods everyone to share ideas and observations. Employees at all levels are supposed to say what they need to say directly to the other party rather than talk behind someone’s back.

“We want everyone to be comfortable challenging my or anyone else’s ideas without ever feeling or making someone else feel that the questioning is a personal attack,” he says.

Treat poor performers with respect. Lubetzky dislikes the whole notion of “firing” someone. He prefers to explore options such as reassigning underperformers or training them to improve. Unless an employee engages in deliberate, serious misconduct, Lubetzky and his team strive to redress a staffer’s shortcomings in a supportive manner.

“The thought that someone who gave their precious time to a corporation is suddenly told to pack their belongings and leave the building is, in my mind, offensive and often unnecessary,” he declares.

Harness empathy. Instead of insisting that you’re right or emphasizing your position, it’s often smarter to see things through others’ eyes. Lubetzky views empathy as a business skill—a way to increase your understanding and gain perspective.

—Adapted from “The amazing story behind that KIND bar you’re eating,” Lauren Ready, www.usatoday.com.

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