Raising the level of your leadership


know-limits-1-638Do you know your limitations? You need to. We all do. Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani yogurt, found out the hard way.

Chobani yogurt first hit grocery store shelves in 2007. By 2012, Chobani had $1B in sales and a 60% market share. Wow! What a ride. However, things aren’t so good today. According to a WSJ article*, by 2012 Chobani was “saddled with debt…purchasing was inefficient and it lacked an adequate quality control team—a deficiency that surfaced dramatically when Chobani had to recall yogurt from a new factory in 2013.” Throw increased competition into the mix and Chobani’s market share has slipped for three straight years

All of this—the good and the bad—was accomplished under the leadership of Ulukaya. Chobani is now searching for a CEO to takes the reins because Ulukaya found out the hard way that a “founder passionate about the product, but uninterested and inexperienced in the nuts and bolts of business, can find himself ill-equipped to ride the wave he helped create.”*

Selling lemonade for 50¢ from a roadside stand is not the same thing as running Minute Maid.

Having a one-chair barbershop (like my barber Genie) isn’t the same thing as running more than 1000 Sports Clips shops.

You can run a $10,000 business on 3×5 cards; you need a lot more than that for $100,000…$1,000,000   $100,000,000…and so on.

Pastoring a church of 200 is not the same thing as pastoring a church of 2000.

I found out the hard way that leading an aerospace company did not prepare me to lead a shipyard.

One of the hardest things to do for any of us is to know and accept our limitations, especially when we have achieved some success.

NO LIMITS sounds good when trying to pump up the troops or yourself. But it’s not true. We all have limits. We expand our limits by knowing what they are and getting help. That is what Ulukaya is doing—getting help. He’ll be better off and so will Chobani.

So will you. So will I.

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© Copyright 2015 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company


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  • On Leading Well…

    "The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."

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