What does it take to run a great organization in 2014? More than just a great product and some smart strategy. Today’s best businesses are those that, yes, offer something the market wants—but they do it in a way that’s uniquely energetic, sustainable and intense.
These are Canada’s Passion Capitalists. Inspired by the book Passion Capital by Paul Alofs and run by Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions and Richardson GMP Ltd., the awards program recognizes the organizations that best exemplify seven tenets of excellent corporate citizenry: creed, culture, courage, brand, resources, strategy and persistence.
This year, 10 organizations joined the ranks of Canada’s Passion Capitalists. Here they are, along with a bit about where each particularly excels:
Bluedrop Performance Learning Inc.
St. John’s, Nfld.
Sheer persistence: Bluedrop fostered major community cred when it bought a derelict meat-packing plant in downtown St. John’s and painstakingly renovated it into a beautiful workspace.
Canada Goose Inc.
Brilliant branding: Word of mouth has been key to Canada Goose’s evolution from a local Toronto coat maker to a renowned global brand. The firm’s tag line, “Ask Anyone Who Knows,” prompts customers to talk up its goods.
Canadian Tire Corp.
Smart strategy: Canadian Tire uses customer buzz for good by mining real user reviews to identify its most innovative products, which then earn the “Tested for Life in Canada” badge.
Cadillac Fairview Corp.
Courageous moves: Cadillac Fairview’s 2012 decision to buy back several major leases from Sears Canada was bold, but it allowed the firm to snag a deal with Nordstrom. The move positions the real estate giant to lead the entry of high-end U.S. retail chains into Canada.
Smart strategy: Clearpath Robotics is changing the world with its life-saving robots and its humanitarian mission is key to motivating its staff.
Kingston General Hospital
Creed in action: Six years ago, KGH patients and families said they didn’t feel safe in the hospital. So management created a program to include patients in all decisions, resulting in dramatic improvements in many areas of care.
Peace Hills Insurance
Culture first: Employee retention is such a priority for Peace Hills that the firm conducts “stay interviews” with staff to address job frustrations early on.
Sleep Country Canada
The right resources: Sleep Country motivates front-line staff by arming them with knowledge (each one spends three weeks training before hitting the sales floor) and autonomy, leading to happier people—and higher sales.
Toronto International Film Festival
Smart strategy: Want more clients? Add more inventory. The 2010 opening of the sleek TIFF Bell Lightbox marked the festival’s transition from an 11-day event to a year-round hub for cinephiles.
WestJet Airlines Ltd.
Brilliant branding: WestJet’s “Christmas Miracle” video—which featured an elaborate gift-giving plan—was meant to catch media attention. It became one of the biggest viral hits of 2013, winning more than a dozen ad awards and yielding what the airline calls “simply astounding” financial results.