Daniel Lubetzky (the chief executive of Kind Snacks) in “The Corner Office”

LubetzkyAdam Bryant conducts interviews of senior-level executives that appear in his “Corner Office” column each week in the SundayBusiness section of The New York Times. Here are a few insights provided during an interview of Daniel Lubetzky, chief executive of Kind Snacks. He says creative minds can find ways to reach multiple goals for an organization. “Sometimes you have to choose this or that,” he says, “but many times those are false choices.”

To read the complete interview as well as Bryant’s interviews of other executives, please click here.

Photo credit: Earl Wilson/The New York Times

* * *

Bryant: Were you an entrepreneur early on?

Lubetzky: I did magic shows, probably from the time I was 8 through 19. When I was a college student, I paid for my travels doing magic shows from the streets of Paris to the streets of Bulgaria.

Bryant: You’re the third C.E.O. I’ve interviewed who’s a former magician. What’s the correlation?

Lubetzky: First of all, magicians practice a lot. It requires a lot of discipline. Second, you can’t be afraid to be a leader, to go on stage, and you learn to have presence. You need to be able to visualize and connect and create. Most important, you learn to think outside the box.

Bryant: What about your parents’ influence?

Lubetzky: My father was larger than life to me. He was a Holocaust survivor, and when the war ended he went to Mexico to reunite with two of his uncles. He had only a third-grade education but would buy used encyclopedias and read them cover to cover. He was a natural entrepreneur. He started from nothing and built a little jewelry shop. He eventually started duty-free businesses. I learned a lot just from watching him.

Bryant: Tell me about your leadership style.

Lubetzky: I’m very inquisitive. I love hanging around people who can teach me. I ask a lot of questions. And I’m very introspective and self-critical. I try hard to always question myself and wonder: “What could I have done better? What did I do wrong?” The culture at our company is to be self-critical, but you have to balance that as a leader with praise for your team.

* * *

Adam Bryant, deputy national editor of The New York Times, oversees coverage of education issues, military affairs, law, and works with reporters in many of the Times’ domestic bureaus. He also conducts interviews with CEOs and other leaders for Corner Office, a weekly feature in the SundayBusiness section and on nytimes.com that he started in March 2009. In his book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70 leaders. To read an excerpt, please click here. His next book, Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation, will also be published by Times Books (January 2014). To contact him, please click here.

Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.