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Business Leaders do the Right Thing

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

We hear a lot about entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. Men who started businesses and became industry leaders and captains of huge organizations. They have books written about them, movies, and literally millions of articles written about them. Yes, they did something impressive, they created industries through innovation and disruption, but does this make them the best business leaders, the types of people we should be looking to emulate?

When I read the biographies of these men who created wealth and corporations that changed the world, I find similarities. They are known as the best business leaders of their time. They all have a hyper focus on a vision, and they are not swayed from it by other opportunities or ideas. They are usually men. They have a reputation of being hard to work for and demanding loyalty without returning it to others. They only care about their vision and little for those who make it happen, especially if they are just numbers on an excel sheet. There are rumours about how badly they treated the people who worked for them and helped them attain their vision. There are news stories by investigative reporters about the conditions those lowest down on the totem poles are forced to endure. However, as with everyone on the planet, I know the truth is somewhere in the middle of the positive and the negative. Yet, after reading their biographies I wish there was a bit more positive to add to the scales of those whom our media serves up as leaders to emulate.

Best Business Leaders Make Better Decisions.

Last week, I was attending a Section 4 presentation about Netflix and how their leadership team made decisions. The presenter shared a problem they grappled with and asked us what decision we’d make before sharing what Netflix chose to do.

The problem: They noticed .05% of subscribers had not logged into their Netflix account in over 12 months and accounted for $100 Million in fees. The choices they considered were:

a) Do nothing and keep collecting the fees

b) Email them to remind them they had an account

c) Auto unsubscribe everyone who didn’t log in after 12 months.

The team at Netflix chose option c and by doing so they created a story where they put people before profits. How many companies would choose c? I know of companies set up to take advantage of people who forget their $10 a month subscription.

The Netflix story got me thinking about the business leaders the media is captivated by and I wanted to find leaders who put people before profits. People whom I believe are more worthy of our attention than those who treat others as commodities with little loyalty or care for their wellbeing.

Who are the best business leaders to take notice of?

To find out, I asked people to share a few stories about businesses who are putting people before profits and making it work. I encourage you to read through these stories and support these businesses who have social agendas and treat their people with respect and decency instead of like workhorses to be used up and replaced.

List of Businesses in this Article

Anthony Gruppo - Retired CEO Marsh Commercial UK

We Sell Mats

Grayston Bakery

Dean's Beans



Old Bull Lee

Conex Boxes


DGW Brands

Mellow Pine

iHaul Junk

If you know of a business or leader who puts people before profits, please send me their stories so I can share them here on MarketAPeel. It’s time for us to have new heroes, new mentors, new leaders who can inspire us to be better people not just better businesspeople. Criteria: They must be successful and they must put people before profits.

Best business leader

Anthony Gruppo – Retired CEO of Marsh Commercial

A few years ago, I helped Anthony write and publish his book Pushers of the Possible about the lessons he learned as a servant leader. When I analyzed his personal brand on social media, I discovered that those whom he led respected him and had good things to say about him. In the conversations we had, I was impressed by his philosophy and concern for others when he had to make the hard decisions. Read more about Anthony Gruppo

We Sell Mats

We have assisted customers with researching other brands to find a product if we didn’t have what they were looking for. The more important thing becomes helping that customer find a product that is right for them!

I had a customer contact me about a Folding Exercise Mat she had recently purchased from us she found to be too firm. I explained the reason behind the mats being firm is to aid in preventing injuries.

She understood that but said it was not a match. So, we discussed how to return the mats. She asked if I knew of a softer product that would be more comfortable since she had recently had surgery. I assisted her with looking at some of our competitor websites, as well as on Amazon. I sent her a few links of mats I thought may be a fit and encouraged her to contact those vendors

Some companies are comfortable promoting their products at all costs. Disregarding the customers’ needs only to disappoint the customer later. As a consumer we have all experienced being pushed into a purchase we were not comfortable with or feeling like you weren’t given all the facts.

For us its more important to establish trust and build that rapport. In the hopes that later the customer may consider us in the future. Even if we never hear from them again, as long as they had an overall great experience then we feel great at the end of the day!

When employees are the ones reaching out to tell the stories, it is a positive reflection on the company’s leadership. I’ve worked for companies where the employees wouldn’t admit on social media that they worked there, let alone be brand ambassadors and share a post. In this case, Chanel Campos had to answer a query without any guarantee it would be printed. Most respond to queries because they want a back link for their business or promotion for their brand. Not in this case, which makes this story even more credible and real.

Big Businesses Who Did the Right Thing

Shel Horowitz a green/social entrepreneurship profitability consultant, speaker, and author of Guerrilla Marketing to Heal had some interesting stories to share about some big companies who have done the right thing.

I see over and over again, that companies don't have to sacrifice anything except short-term profit when they choose to do the right thing. If done properly, their ethical actions will make them MORE profitable, not less--because it will be MUCH easier to retain existing customers and attract new ones, and sometimes because expenses actually go down. Examples:

  1. Grayston Bakery: Brownie bakers to Ben & Jerry's and top-rated hotels, this company's open-hiring policy for line jobs has given meaningful employment--and the training/guidance to be successful--to ex-addicts, ex-felons, ex-homeless, ex-mental patients, etc. in its economically depressed community in Yonkers, NY. It saves so much on the HR side that it now consults to other companies that want to implement this.

  1. Dean's Beans: 100% fairly traded and fully organic since its founding in the 1990, this regional coffee roasting company in Orange, MA (another depressed area) helped prove that a market for socially and economically responsible coffee exists--and has developed a nice side market supplying custom-branded beans to various charities who resell them as fundraisers. Founder Dean Cycon turns a substantial portion of the profits back into village-led development projects in the areas where he sources--resulting in anything from digging new wells in villages that had to hand-carry water to programs on reducing domestic violence.

  2. Patagonia: The only company I know of that voluntarily created advertising telling people not to buy their products, this West Coast outdoor outfitter was an early adopter of environmentally friendly people-friendly sourcing, manufacturing, and customer service.

I find these stories interesting because they highlight three companies that are making a difference in the world and are successful, especially Patagonia. But that might be because I live in Vancouver BC Canada where lots of outdoorsy tree hugging rich folk wear their jackets. It would be nice if leadership would come out from behind the logo. Most business leaders don’t have a personal brand story and though they ‘do the right thing’ and are the best business leaders out there, we don’t hear about them. The best business leaders are the ones who do the work without beating their chests or trying to take over the world.

EVO3 Olive Farms

EVO3 Olive Farms is a brand built on social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Our motto "Taste Love, Give Life" encompasses these ideals. We endeavour to keep intact the thread that binds us all by seeking to meet human needs and to help alleviate the conscious eradication of our environment by incorporating these values in our day-to-day operations.

We have a "one bottle, one tree" promise that for every product sold, we plant a tree in a deforested area with the help of our partner Eden Reforestation Project. The impact of these trees extends far beyond the environment; it provides communities with jobs, sustenance, and a future. This is one step closer to sustainably getting people out of poverty.

To help our local economy, as well as to aid the empowerment of women, we established a second partnership with the Women’s Coop of Parakila to help bring extra income to women who are financially vulnerable in a small village on Lesvos.

In 2015, amidst a huge influx of refugees into Europe, EVO3 began donating olive oil to Lesvos Solidarity (PIKPA) refugee camp so they could cook food for the thousands of displaced souls in need of shelter and hospitality.

Finally, for every bottle sold we donate 25 cents to our partner, the American Association for Cancer Research, to fund lifesaving cancer research. “As a cancer survivor who is part of a company where social responsibility is intertwined in every facet of our brand, I can think of no better partner than the American Association for Cancer Research,” said John Irwin, director and partner, EVO3 Olive Farms. “In one way or another, our lives have all been affected by this dreadful disease.”

I love how this business has aligned itself with a cause, developed socially responsible initiatives and stepped up when there was a crisis where they were doing business. Before you tell me, Elon Musk built something to get kids out of a cave, let me remind you that when he was told it wouldn’t work by the lead diver, he called the diver a pedophile. It was about his ego not helping the children. When businesses and business leaders do the right thing every day to make a difference and positive impact – it matters.

Old Bull Lee

"A few years ago, we sent in a fairly significant order to the factory that we contract with for “cut & sew”, it was the largest order that we had ever placed. When they came back, they looked fine, but they were wrong.

Basically, it was our fault. To the casual eye, they looked correct. We could have sold them, we certainly needed to sell them. No one would have been the wiser, at least not for a while. But one day, they would have realized that something in the fit wasn’t right and they didn’t enjoy wearing them. We tried everything, there was no way for us to fix them. We ended up with huge piles of shorts that we decided not to sell. It was a lot of money, financially, it nearly broke us. That is what is behind our words."

This is a commitment to quality story. I can imagine the stress they were under when faced with this problem and what they would do. Would it have mattered in this world of cheap fast fashion? Maybe. Maybe not. What mattered to them was they delivered the quality that they promised they would and eat the error hoping it would lead to future opportunity. Many small businesses face these make-or-break decisions every day and it could not have been easy for them or those who made the mistake to take ownership of it and make it right.

Conex Boxes

We were faced with the choice of profits or ethics route because of the pandemic. One of our suppliers, who creates a specific component for our containers, was having issues with not enough supply and huge demand. This meant our supply chain took a hit along with an increase in costs. Plus, we faced a higher demand for our containers due to the shipping container shortage, which meant we could raise our prices.

We needed to decide between increasing the costs of our containers to meet the increased costs from our supplier or if we would eat the increase costs and keep prices for our customers the same.

We decided to go the ethical route. The world was facing some serious issues, and we didn’t want to add to those struggles by trying to make a profit off the pandemic.

Capitalism is all about the law of supply and demand. When a company decides to not profit from this law for the betterment of their customers during a difficult time, it says a lot about the ethics of the leadership of the company. The pandemic and the supply crisis were short term and will come to an end. What customers need to remember is there was a business who had their backs during that time and remain loyal over the long haul. Price shopping is short sighted and rarely results in a quality experience.


In my opinion, there is no other company worldwide as ethical and responsible as Google when it comes to community impact and employee well-being. Since becoming the global tech giant, Google has taken several environmentally friendly initiatives to ensure environmental sustainability. For instance, a large amount of data is produced at Google data centers every day. When Google started expanding its data centers for effective data management, it came across the challenge of environmental conservation because these data centers require lots of energy and they emit dangerous gasses into the atmosphere. However, instead of preferring money, Google decided to remain ethical and designed its data centers in such a way that they use 50% less energy than that used by their competitors. Moreover, the American tech giant has also committed $1 billion to renewable energy projects to reduce environmental impact and keep this earth the safest place to live. Recognizing the company’s eco-friendly efforts, Reputation Institute declared Google the best CSR organization in 2018.

- Sara at US Title Loans

DGW Brands

I am replying to your HARO request looking for businesses that put people before profits. DGW Branded is a print promo supplier that was built on the ideology that business should be used for good, rather than benefitting a select few shareholders.

The company was founded with the intention of business growth can be in parallel with providing support and stability to those from the foster care system. This ideal has been achieved through the success of its Workforce Development Program.

This program gives opportunities to work for those who have been raised in the foster care system. A living wage is guaranteed as well as providing trauma-informed mentors, Lyft rides to the office, and free lunch while at work. This is designed so everyone has a platform for stability for long-term growth and to maximize their potential.

Please watch this DGW 2021 Impact Report to find out more ways DGW Branded go the extra mile for their employees. I’ve also included a couple of infographics at the bottom of this email that shows some of the facts and figures relating to the community and global impact DGW Branded is continuing to have.

Please reach out about your thoughts, and I will of course answer any further questions you may have.

Mellow Pine

When I began Mellowpine, there was a time I was offered a lump sum of investment from an investor. But I knew there was dirt on him and that he would make me adjust/compromise the values and ethics I have for this firm. He has a history of manipulating the board of other firms and playing around with the quality. So, I declined his offer and went forward with whatever funding I had.

But, doing the right thing is the actual 'profitable' thing in the long run. I do not regret declining his offer because if I wouldn't have, Mellowpine wouldn't be a quality oriented firm.

iHaul Junk

Howdy! Matt Fitch here, founder and CEO at iHaulJunk, Inc. In the last year and a half, I expanded my business to major cities across the country and grew my business over 300%. My model is to subcontract our jobs to independent haulers, which we recruit and train. About a year ago, I hired the best salesman, or so I thought.

Let’s call him Mike. In the first month, we paid Mike over $20,000 and he went on to do the same the following month. We then got two bad online reviews, from his customers claiming we were price gouging. I was shocked because Mike had racked up quite a few good reviews in the process. So, I started to do a little digging and when I got into the research, things just weren’t adding up.

I started looking through more of the photos on Mike’s jobs and the invoices…this a#*hole was price gouging my coveted customers. Oddly enough, Mike was getting five-star reviews on jobs he was charging twice, sometimes three times our standard rates!

Mike wasn’t a good salesman. Mike was a shark.

For a couple weeks I really struggled going back-and-forth on what to do about Mike. Eventually, I decided that making a quick buck was not worth risking our reputation. Even if many didn’t realize they’d overpaid. Just because one individual has a higher pricing threshold than another, doesn’t mean we need to take advantage of them.

Sounds obvious when it’s laid out in black-and-white like this now, but at the time when the money was rolling in…making that decision wasn’t easy. Well, we fired Mike and major changes were implemented to our pricing policy, which are still in place today.

Now we price estimates internally before assigning a task to a hauler. In addition, we also require detailed before and after photos that align with the item description and paid invoice. I know these changes cost us money in the short-term, but it was for the long-term good of the company. It was a necessary band aid to rip off! Our new hauler who has since taken Mike’s place is getting more 5-star reviews than any other hauler we’ve had, he dedicated, friendly…and fair

This is an interesting story because he was making a lot of money thanks to Mike and yet, he chose to let him go and institute a different in-house strategy. He chose to protect his brand and ensure his company was offering a fair price to all his customers. When we hire people, they are representing our brand and if they go out into the marketplace with their own agenda instead of the brand’s agenda – Harm can be done to the brand’s reputation. How often does a company put up with an employee’s behaviour because they are profitable to the bottom line and in the end the office becomes a toxic environment?

There are lots of these types of stories out there in the marketplace and consumers hold a lot of power. They can choose to support the businesses who make hard choices and do the right things, or they can choose to support the big names with bigger egos. It is up to us to define what makes a leader the best business leader and what

"If you want to know more about how to be a good leader, leadership training is key to develop knowledge and practices that will make your life and your employee's easier".

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1 comentário

Jenny Gill
Jenny Gill
30 de mai. de 2022

Thankyou for sharing the details about the business leadership. It really means a lot and i have bookmarked it already.


Ferrero nutella chocolate


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