June 23, 2011

Hey CEOs, How Did You Screw Up?

elephant journal is proud to be the official new media partner with LOHAS Forum. Click here for our ongoing LOHAS coverage, and be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter. [Our editor Waylon Lewis is honored to serve on two panels during this event.]

Leadership the LOHAS way, a panel discussion

Moderated by Bryan Welch, Publisher and Editorial Director, Ogden Publications
One of the first forums at the LOHAS conference on Leadership, Bryan asks CEOs pertinent questions, like “how did they screw up?”
Terry Kellogg, CEO, 1% for the Planet
This company spends 1 million to create 22 million, which comes from 1% of topline revenue from it’s 1500 members in 44 countries. Jack Johnson was the 50th member and they could follow phone calls based on where Jack was on his album tour. Patagonia was one of the first companies to contribute 1% to an ngo for their organic cotton line, making that company sustainable.
How did you screw up? I make mistakes every day…but I don’t let go and am constantly processing. I could do better to move on.One of my biggest mistakes was producing a video of a stripping santa to promote poles melting, the idea was good, but I let it go too far. I could’ve taken out the part that he’s riding his santa cape [lots of laughter, plus everyone starts looking at their smartphone].

Maybe this video will work better a second time around! 1% for the planet

* * *

Kim Jordan, CEO & Co Founder, New Belgium Brewery

We started in our basement 20 years ago, after there was more beer in house than furniture, we moved. It is now 140 million company with 390 co workers. NB always had an open books policy with their employees, but without sharing the equity is was like sharing a dinner but not letting them eat. So they gave 10% pool of equity to the stock plan and workers own 45% of company. They  use methane for most of their power and have largest private solar array in Colorado. Beer is the most ancient archetype industry, well, maybe the second oldest…..[laughter]

how did you screw up? I didn’t. But I’m a big fan of screwing up! I believe in intentionally screwing up in technology…because our investments need to be on the outside edge. If you’re not on the edge you don’t move the body of learning out and if you’re not screwing up you’re not learning to be on the edge.

Sue Chen, CEO, Nova Medical Products
Serving the geriatrics and depends group, this company makes fashionable products, ie walkers and canes, for the older folks that like to take walks in the park, have sex, go shopping but still want to be fashionable.She’s a self proclaimed “mobility fashionista”, specializing in creating unique products for physical mobility. Think “blinged out” walkers.

How did you screw up? I didn’t listen to the advice of a few my interns, it cost me a couple years fighting some lawsuits, don’t get me started on intellectual property.

* * *

Mick Bremans, CEO, Ecover

Company originated in Belguim making laundry detergent, then saw an opportunity for natural detergents. Ecover manufactures its cleaners in the worlds first ecological plant.

How did you screw up? We were too open in the beginning about what we were doing. How we’re not going to screw up is to get in too much over our head like going into Walmart, we wouldn’t be able to deliver that amount of volume. The truth is most people buy their cleaning supplies in bulk.

* * *

Good advice from our expert panel on how to screw up, or at least do it well.
~ Pam Uhlenkamp
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