Kip Tindell, CEO of the Container Store, knows a thing or two about running a business.
With close to 70 stores, 6,000 employees and $782 million in revenue in 2014, Tindell’s conscious capitalism mantra has kept business strong since its inception in 1978.
Although the Container Store has yet to impress on Wall Street, with stock prices devalued more than 50 percent from the company’s initial public offering in 2013, it has found a place on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list 16 years running.
Tindell attributes this particular success to 70 percent of the company’s workforce: women.
“I think that [women] make better business leaders than men,” Tindell said at the iCONIC conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “I think what is happening now is that you are getting more of a conscious capitalist approach and less of this top-down, military kind of structure … there’s a beautiful feminization of American business taking place.”
For Tindell, women have three traits that better suit them for leadership positions, particularly at the Container Store.
“You can’t talk about women and leadership without making a few generalizations, but guess who tends to communicate better?” Tindell asked a crowd of entrepreneurs at the iCONIC conference.
That’s right. Women.
Tindell believes that women possess an innate skill set that caters towards communication, empathy and emotional intelligence—the key pillars of conscious capitalism.
The CEO has spoken avidly in the last few years about the lack of women in leadership positions in both the business sector and politics. “We aren’t that far along yet,” he said, “only 23 or 24 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.”
According to Tindell, women are much better at working in a team than their male counterparts.
“Women are a little bit more mutually supportive and mutually communicative,” he said.
The company does not discriminate against men, but has actively sought out individuals that have skill sets that are conducive to a team setting. Instead of the traditional, militarized business model, the Container Store seeks to put the employee above the company. Without a happy and cohesive workforce, the organization won’t succeed, Tindell said.
3. Hire your customer
The Container Store is primarily a housewares store and, according to Tindell, more women still buy housewares than men.
A big piece of the company’s business model is to attract employees who are already invested in the merchandise.
“If you hire your customer, eventually they are going to run your business,” said Tindell.
In fact, the company doesn’t actually have a designated human resources department. Instead, Tindell believes that it is the priority of every employee to help in the selection process. He gives them recruiting cards to hand out to customers they think would make a great addition to the company.
By Sarah Whitten