All it takes is a quick look behind the scenes at Clif Bar to realize that they don't operate like most companies. That philosophy was made crystal clear when the company's founders turned down an offer to sell the company for $120M in 2000.

As a result, Clif Bar has become one of the best places for employees to work and one of the toughest places to get a job (in 2014, the company received 7,700 applications for just 114 open roles, according to Fortune). And while most companies focus on one bottom line, Clif Bar has five:

  1. Sustaining our Business. Building a resilient company, investing for the long-term.
  2. Sustaining our Brands. Creating brands with integrity, quality, and authenticity.
  3. Sustaining our People. Working side-by-side, encouraging each other, our Company is our people.
  4. Sustaining our Communities. Promoting healthy, sustainable communities, locally and globally.
  5. Sustaining the Planet. Conserving and restoring our natural resources; growing a business that operates in harmony with the laws of nature.

Clif Bar CEO Kevin Cleary joins me on The Growth Show this week to talk about how those five bottom lines keep the company balanced, and how they've been able to grow by focusing on building a company that matters. Highlights from this episode include:

  • How Clif Bar started back in the 90’s with a bike ride (2:00)
  • Kevin's transition from President to COO to CEO (5:00)
  • Why great leadership is all about approachability (8:00)
  • Running a "5 Bottom Line" business (9:00)
  • Why Clif Bar doesn't do traditional advertising (12:00)
  • Why Kevin doesn’t believe in work-life balance (15:00)
  • Why they invest in out-of-the box employee perks (17:00)
  • Clif Bar’s hiring process (24:00)
  • How they test new products and bars (29:00)

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Originally published Sep 3, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017