May 27, 2024

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It was “never a thing.”

It was “never a thing.”

Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya went from working on a farm with little money to running a multibillion-dollar company — and he did it without committing to a plan.

The 50-year-old billionaire said his ability to adapt helped propel his success on a recent episode of Rethink podcasting With organizational psychologist Adam Grant. He recommends that others learn the skill.

“Making plans was never my thing,” he told Grant. “[When you stick to plans] You create a kind of rigid line and do not see the dimensions of possibilities. “

Many experts see planning as Essential tool For success, as it can help keep you focused and hold you accountable for achieving the goals you set. but being Over-reliance on a plan It can also put you in a box, making it impossible to adapt if changing circumstances make your initial plans outdated.

Ulukaya has experienced it firsthand. He moved to the United States in 1994 without much money, having come from a “tribal lifestyle” in Turkey, where he was raised in a family of nomadic dairy farmers. He took a job on a farm in upstate New York while he attended school to make ends meet. Years later, Ulukaya comes across an advertisement for a fully stocked yogurt factory – and buying it means he needs a business plan.

“The first business plan I wrote for the Small Business Administration was put together for her [get a loan] To buy this entire plant… It was the first time I’d ever done that. “And no one remembered that plan six months after we launched the factory. It was just a small part of what we did in the first six [to] seven months.”

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Ulukaya and Chobani stayed at that plant for five years, rolling with the punches and adjusting to changes such as the Great Recession in 2007. He said the company reached $1 billion in sales in 2012.

According to Ulukaya, he didn’t know the ins and outs of the business early in his career—but not sticking to the planning rule as a business owner really did him good.

“Not knowing was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” he said, “for if I had known all these things and made all sorts of calculations… I might have doubted myself.”

Ulukaya isn’t the only one abandoning conventional wisdom to build a career plan and stick to it. Apple CEO Tim Cook has a similar view.

As part of Duke’s MBA curriculum, Cook had to write a 25-year plan, he told students and alumni at his school. Class reunion In 2013. Years later, he finds that plan hidden in a box.

“I would say it was reasonably accurate for the entire 18 to 24 months after it was written,” Cook said. “There was nothing, one thing in it, that was a fine post. Not one thing.”

Sixteen years since Chobani was launched, Ulukaya says he now has to have a certain level of preparation while running a large company, but he vows not to be strict about following through on plans.

“I’m struggling with this kind of thing, of course,” he said, “now I’m running a big company and I have to make some plans.” “But I never lock myself in that. I never lock myself in that prison.”

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