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Exclusive: To Operationalize Kindness, Just Care –



To Operationalize Kindness, Just Care

#Operationalize #Kindness #Care

Since the release of my book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership (2022, John Hunt), one of the questions I am asked most frequently is, “How do you operationalize kindness?” Sometimes, I am wont to answer, “How do some operationalize micromanaging people or otherwise beating the heck out of them?”

I ask the question with all the seriousness in the world and no disrespect intended. For operationalizing a culture of kindness is quite literally the opposite of what has been happening in most Western businesses for hundreds of years, where top-down, autocratic, command and control narcissists who talk more than they listen, criticize more than they encourage, beat down more than they build up and focus more on improving their own circumstances vs. those of others have roamed freely. The operational alternative to that is a simple two-word proposition – perhaps the greatest leadership tip ever, “Just care.”

I spoke with Paul McCarthy, CEO of PaulMac Leadership and a thought leader on the future of work. I asked him what advice he had for organizations thinking about how they might operationalize a kinder, more caring style of doing business. He had similar advice. He told me, “Stop overthinking how to operationalize kindness in your organization and approach to leadership. You’re missing the point. Just do the opposite of what you think is unkind. Try it. When it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, simply refine your approach and try it again. Simple. Just do it.”

When our focus and priorities shift from whatever we had placed in a leading position to simply caring, the lens through which we will view everything will change. The system we use to evaluate everything will change. Even the principal values that guide and inform the business will change. That’s because the business will begin asking, “Who?” instead of, “What?”

I want to be clear at the onset that the ultimate objective of the firm does not change, nor does its fiduciary obligation to its shareholders, or those it serves, in the case of a non-profit. Business is, after all, a game in which score is kept. The goal to maximize returns does not change; it never will. Winning remains the object of the game. What does change is the way that people are valued and treated in the process. What also changes is what can be tolerated.

For far too long, those in positions having direct responsibility for or influence over the hiring of significant leadership positions have discounted the importance of conscientiousness related traits among the “Big 5” when considering new hires and promotions. Worse, when dealing with known attitude problems, insubordinates, or abusers of others who clearly depart from the values and culture of the organization, it has become customary to overlook these defects because the employee, “is just too good at their job,” or has somehow been deemed, “Irreplaceable.” So, the organization consciously keeps known detractors from the culture and adds to them, believing that hard skills are significantly more valuable than soft.

This however is folly. Clichés become clichés because they are true. And that applies wholly to the one about bad apples. Even one associate who detracts from what you are trying to accomplish culturally, no matter how good they are at their job, will destroy everything you are trying to build. So do yourself and every person who works there a favor and help find these misfits a place outside of your organization where being their particular brand of extra will be OK – because it can’t ever be OK at your place. So, that’s step one:

  1. Make sure everyone in the boat wants to be in the boat (by ensuring that everyone is 100% committed to living out the values of the organization). Next, put others first, by making sure that everyone:
  2. Knows their role
  3. Knows how to do their role
  4. Knows why their role is important
  5. Knows their life will improve when the goals of the organization are met.

Intermediately, operationalizing a more caring organization is no more complicated than ensuring that every single associate has what they need to be successful in their role, making certain that every associate knows and can repeat both the key strategies and values of the business, and committing to the notion that mistakes should be encouraged, with no one losing their dignity when they occur.

This is the heart of true accountability, according to David Rogers, President at Shop 4D and a coach and consultant for top-performing independent automotive repair shops – an industry desperately in need of kindness. “Accountability isn’t a one-way street,” says Rogers. “If mistakes can only happen at the bottom of the chain of command, then the organization isn’t truly committed to creating a healthy, caring culture. I expect my leaders to publicly accept responsibility when they fall short. It’s not about some sort of public flogging, but about showing that we are all accountable for the same goal – protecting the company, protecting the customer, and protecting each other.”


As a leader, you must believe, beyond any doubt, that it is not about you, and that your principal goal along the way to achieving the goals of your shareholders is to make yourself really, really small so that others can become really, really big. When and if you can accomplish these things, you will have operationalized a kinder, more caring organization.

It truly is no more complicated than that. It is, though, like most else in life, a choice – a simple, wonderful choice. It is a choice between no longer prioritizing traits that correlate to emerging leadership and instead choosing better traits that correlate to effective leadership. It’s a choice to refuse to harbor associates who can’t or won’t align to the values of the organization. It’s a choice to put others first by executing the simple steps to operationalize a caring culture. And it’s a choice to make yourself small so that others might get big. “Truly, the act of making yourself look smaller while making others around you look bigger is a humble act of caring, said Rafael Lugioyo, Dr. BA, Managing Partner of Southeastern Investments, and a first-generation American, who, with his brother, built then sold one of the largest tire distribution businesses in the southeast United States. Dr. Lugioyo went on to share with me a story of being constantly recognized for treating the janitor as well as or better than anyone else in the building. “I always remind these people that when I came to this country, my mother, myself, and my older brother were janitors. Lifting others up is far easier when you remember where it is you came from.”

See, it’s not hard to comprehend. It’s mostly a matter of treating people the way they want to be treated – all day, every day – especially when it gets in the way of things that make you feel like you matter more. Because here’s a fundamental truth about life and business: until people recognize that they matter more than anything in the world to you, then you and what matters to you won’t matter to them at all. It’s just simple organizational dynamics. And it’s what makes the path to operationalizing the not so subtle art of caring not so hard to comprehend. It is, in fact, simple: Just care.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of


Exclusive: Sweetgreen's stock plummets after salad chain lowers forecast, announces layoffs and office downsizing –




Sweetgreen's stock plummets after salad chain lowers forecast, announces layoffs and office downsizing

#Sweetgreen039s #stock #plummets #salad #chain #lowers #forecast #announces #layoffs #office #downsizing

A worker wears a Sweetgreen Inc. hat while preparing food inside the company’s restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts.

Adam Glanzman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shares of Sweetgreen plunged more than 20% in extended trading Tuesday after the salad chain lowered its 2022 forecast.

The restaurant company also said it laid off 5% of its support center workforce and will downsize to a smaller office building to lower its operating expenses.

As of Tuesday’s close, Sweetgreen’s stock has fallen 37% since its initial public offering in November.

Here’s what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Loss per share: 36 cents, in line with estimates
  • Revenue: $124.9 million vs. $130.2 million expected

Sweetgreen sales softened around Memorial Day, leading the company to revise its forecast lower, CFO Mitch Reback said in a statement.

On the company’s conference call, executives attributed the slowdown to a number of factors, including “unprecedented levels of summer travel,” a slow return to the office and another wave of new Covid-19 cases.

In the quarter, ended June 26, Sweetgreen’s net sales rose 45% to $124.9 million. Its same-store sales climbed 16%, boosted by 6% menu price hikes.


For the year, Sweetgreen now expects annual revenue of $480 million to $500 million, down from its prior forecast of $515 million to $535 million. The chain also revised its outlook for same-store sales, predicting growth of 13% to 19%, down from the previous projection of 20% to 26%.

“We think that it’s a conservative estimate, but looking back, we’ve just been wrong on so many of these calls,” Reback said on the call.

Moreover, Sweetgreen also changed its outlook for adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to a range of $45 million to $35 million, wider than its previous range of $40 million to $33 million.

But the chain explained the steps it’s taking to achieve profitability, including layoffs and reducing its real estate footprint by moving to a smaller office. Severance packages and related benefits are expected to cost the company between $500,000 to $800,000, while the office move will cost $8.4 million to $9.9 million. The charges are expected to impact its third-quarter results.

Sweetgreen reported a second-quarter net loss of $40 million, or 36 cents per share, wider than a net loss of $26 million, or $1.55 per share, a year earlier. The company blamed an increase in stock-based compensation for its increasing losses.

Read the full earnings report here.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Sweetgreen’s previous forecast for its same-store sales growth.

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Exclusive: Egyptian startup Convertedin raises $3M, caters to e-commerce brands in MENA and Latin America –




Egyptian startup Convertedin raises $3M, caters to e-commerce brands in MENA and Latin America

#Egyptian #startup #Convertedin #raises #caters #ecommerce #brandsin #MENA #Latin #America

Convertedin, an Egyptian startup that operates a marketing operating system for e-commerce brands, has raised $3 million in a seed round led by Saudi Arabia-headquartered Merak Capital.

Other participating investors include 500 Global and MSAS. The company, in a statement, said it plans to utilize the funds for strategic hiring and further development of its platform.

When brands shift to e-commerce sales, they operate with vast amounts of fragmented data that need to be unified to drive informed decisions and growth. As such, platforms like Convertedin become essential because it caters to brands and businesses with one, some, or all of these objectives: drive personalized and scalable campaigns, convert customers, achieve measurable results and grow revenue.

CEO Mohamed Fergany founded the company with Mohamed Atef and Mustafa Raslan in 2019 after working with several brands in companies such as Speakol Ads and Vodafone. His time as an employee opened his eyes to the opportunity of helping offline stores retarget and retain their customers online while finding new ones to shop at their stores offline.

“If you walk into IKEA and they take your phone number down. After that, our engine works to find a similar product you might buy and we retarget you online. If you went back to IKEA for that product, we can calculate the cost of online conversion,” the chief executive said in the interview. “This was the main idea at this time as we saw a huge problem where there was no analytics platform for the offline store or a retargeting mechanism.”

As the pandemic hit and offline stores were forced to close their doors, many of these brands turned to e-commerce, and as a result, Convertedin took its business online too.

Fergany argues that though online brands use CRM software to gather data, they do not utilize most of it. So Convertedin offers a solution where they can use their data best. It plugs into more than 10 major e-commerce platforms and ad networks — and brands, once connected, can place customers into different segments such as high- and low-value and categories like those looking for specific products and use these insights to create personalized multi-channel marketing and drive various campaigns on social media, SMS, email, search and other channels while having the ability to track and attribute revenue conversion.

Convertedin says SMB e-commerce marketers that use its platform increase their return on ad spend (ROAS) by 2x and reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) by 40%. So far, the company partners with media buying and advertising agencies and works with over 100 local and multinational brands across Africa, the Middle East and South America in the automotive, healthcare and technology industries. Convertedin’s revenues from these businesses have been growing in “double-digits” month-over-month, Fergany said.


The three-year-old Egypt-headquartered company also has offices in Saudi Arabia and Brazil; it just recently opened one in the latter. The South American market is enormous, with e-commerce revenues reaching $160 billion by 2025 from over 200 million users. As a result, Convertedin plans to make its services available in Portuguese — in addition to English and Arabic — for brands in Brazil and also Mexico, another South American market. Fergany also said Convertedin is eyeing South Africa and India too.

“We focus on emerging markets and if you look at it from healthy unit economics, we can sell easily in those countries because there is low competition there,” said the CEO on the expansion to five new markets, including Saudi Arabia. “And customer acquisition cost is low compared to the U.S. or Europe markets.” The new investment will help Convertedin with this expansion in addition to R&D and hiring.

In a statement, Ahmed Aljibreen, partner at lead investor Merak Capital, addressing his firm’s investment, said the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing platforms adds a new layer of challenges for e-commerce companies — and that Convertedin solves that. Hence, the reason why Merak Capital backed the firm. “We are excited to back Convertedin, a martech company that has built a state-of-the-art platform to simplify digital marketing, improve customer acquisition and drive growth for its clients. Convertedin is led by a world-class team in which we have tremendous confidence as the company embarks on its next stage of growth in MENA and Latin America.”

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Exclusive: Serena Williams announces her retirement from tennis –




Serena Williams announces her retirement from tennis

#Serena #Williams #announces #retirement #tennis

Tennis legend Serena Williams announced her retirement in a Vogue article published Tuesday.

“I have never liked the word ‘retirement,’” Williams wrote. “Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is ‘evolution.’ I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”

Williams, who turns 41 next month, has 73 career singles titles, 23 career doubles titles and over $94 million in career winnings.

Williams is widely hailed as one of the greatest athletes of all time. In her Vogue piece, she noted that some of her detractors point out that she hasn’t won the most Grand Slam titles in women’s tennis history, however. 

“There are people who say I’m not the GOAT because I didn’t pass Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the ‘open era’ that began in 1968,” Williams wrote. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record.”

She said she will retire after the U.S. Open, which will run from late August into September. A victory there would tie her with Court’s Grand Slam record.

“I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try,” Williams wrote about the tournament, which is played in Queens.

She has counted sponsorships from companies including Nike, Audemars Piguet, Away, Beats, Bumble, Gatorade, Gucci, Lincoln, Michelob, Nintendo, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Procter and Gamble.


“I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair,” Williams wrote. “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.”

Williams focused on her family in the announcement, writing that her nearly five-year-old daughter wants to be an older sister. Williams is married to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.

“I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post Tuesday.

Professionally, she looks to expand Serena Ventures, a small investment firm of six people that was one of the first investors in MasterClass. Her firm raised $111 million in outside financing this year.

Williams wrote that only 2% of venture capital goes to women and that “in order for us to change that, more people who look like me need to be in that position, giving money back to themselves.”

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