We are starting to see inspirational leaders emerge with business visions that include doing good as well as doing well. Today I visited the local store opening of one such business, Warby Parker, the founders of which decided to take on industry giant Luxottica and make high quality, fashionable glasses and sell them for US$95 a pair. However, they are also driven by the desire to do something about the fact that there are 2.5 billion people in the world without the glasses they need, 624 million of whom cannot learn or work because of this.
So for every pair of glasses sold by Warby Parker, the company gives one away to someone who needs them to learn or work. They have partnered with various organizations in the US and beyond who are working to solve this major problem and, once they’ve worked at Warby Parker for 3 years, Warby’s opticians can travel to developing countries to train people to help the vision impaired through their buy one give one program.
As a customer, I could feel the inspiration of Warby Parker’s staff and, in just 7 years Warby has grown to be valued today at well more than $1 billion. It is a great example of a company that is doing well by doing good in an industry ripe for disruption.
Another company that is conscious about trying to be a good corporate citizen in Apple, Inc. Just this week Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple is partnering with the Malala Foundation to help ensure girls in developing countries receive 12 years of free, safe, quality education. Apple is the Foundation’s first Laureate partner, and its support will help the Malala Foundation reach its initial goal of providing education for 100,000 girls.
When companies commit to doing well by doing good it has the double-payoff of inspiring those who work at and with that company, and creating a supportive fan base of customers and admirers who are rooting for its success. Which leads me to pose this question:
How can the business you own or work at be transformed so that it does well by doing good?
We spend the larger part of Monday through Friday doing business. Doesn’t it make sense to spend that time and energy inspired as you and your colleagues make a positive (and profitable) difference in the world?
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