Start with the Golden Rule – My Lessons and Takeaways from Uncontainable by Kip Tindell (CEO of The Container Store)

Uncontainable“What? You boys are going to sell empty boxes?”
…storage and organization products to help busy folks save precious space and, ultimately, time.
We fortunately somehow knew you had to be reasonably organized to accomplish half of what you wanted to in life…. As the pace of modern life accelerates and people realize that being organized is not a luxury anymore, but a necessity.
Truly, our purpose—and we say this with all humility—is to improve the quality of life through the joyful, calming, and time-saving gifts that come with being organized.
Kip Tindell, Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives


Last Friday, I presented my synopsis of the book Uncontainable by Kip Tindell, the CEO of The Container Store. And, it was a special honor to have Casey Shilling, one of his two co-authors of this book, in our session.

As I do each month, I am posting some key points, and my lessons and takeaways from this book here on our blog. My first suggestion, as always, is that you read this book. It is definitely worth reading. (I am a fan of this book, and of The Container Store). It is genuinely a superior book about corporate culture. I think it accurately captures the challenge of building a good corporate culture, and the ongoing challenge of keeping everyone fully aligned.

And, a couple of personal observations: Mr. Tindlell really does believe in building a company based on the Golden Rule (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), allowing this rule to influence and shape the entire company culture. And he also believes that the day is coming when only the companies that treat people well — treat them right, making the people the top priority — will “win out” in the world of business. I’m not sure I agree with him; but I would like to. I hope he is right. (Note: this fits in with his commitment to the principles of Conscious Capitalism).

So, what is this book? – It is part autobiography; part corporate culture manifesto for The Container Store; part corporate biography; part aspirational sermon/lecture to corporate America and America’s business schools.

The heart of The Container Store is found in its Seven Foundational Principles (Note: these seven principles are all “Registered” – i.e., “SM”)

Principle #1: 1 Great Person = 3 Good People
Principle #2: Fill the Other Guy’s Basket to the Brim. Making Money Then Becomes an Easy Proposition
Principle #3: Man in the Desert Selling
Principle #4: Communication IS Leadership
Principle #5: The Best Selection, Service & Price
Principle #6: Intuition Does Not Come to An Unprepared Mind. You Need to 
Train Before It Happens
Principle #7: Air of Excitement! 

And here are my lessons and takeaways from the book, along with one question:

#1 — The right idea really matters. Great execution of that idea, in every aspect, really matters. They both really matter. (Everything matters!).
#2 — Every company talks about hiring and keeping the best people (“Great People”). – The Container Store seems to have actually pulled this off; they know how to identify, hire, train, reward, and motivate genuinely great people.
#3 — Keep nothing secret. Communicate; constantly, repetitively, perpetually – with nothing held back.
#4 — Employee morale has to be high, and stay high. The Container Store seems to have learned how to make this happen.
#5 — Helping everyone succeed (e.g., all of your vendors) is the right thing to do; and it also helps you succeed in the process.
#6 — The Container Store’s people really do provide solutions to their customers, but only after they discern the actual needs and problems. This is critically important to their success.
#7 — (– and, that question: Is this book “true” – or simply “aspirationally hopeful?” Maybe Conscious Capitalism will win – maybe not…)


My synopsis of Uncontainable, with the audio recording of my presentation plus my comprehensive, multi-page handout, will be available soon on our companion web site,


One thought on “Start with the Golden Rule – My Lessons and Takeaways from Uncontainable by Kip Tindell (CEO of The Container Store)

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