In this episode of the Purpose Podcast I share a couple of stories about how my expectations influence my experience in hopes that you will see something for yourself and your entrepreneurial experience.
I then interview Karen Wolfgang, Owner and Manager of Portland, Oregon’s Independence Gardens. A Portland native, Karen earned a BA in Anthropology and Environmental studies from Princeton and an MA in Educational Leadership from Portland State. Independence Gardens helps people create better relationships with their natural and built environments.
This episode’s interview is likely to be one that we look back on and see I’ve referred to it often. Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor has a unique way of growing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Ari Weinzweig, co-founder, tells us about how they started 32 years ago with Zingerman’s Deli. The idea was that it would be unique, have food and service and be a great place to work. Unique means not copied from something else in New York, Chicago or Detroit and also that there would be only one. They’ve now grown to 9 Zingerman’s businesses (deli, roadhouse, creamery, coffee, training, etc.), 625 staff and about $50 million in sales this year.
The training company came from their core competencies (my word, not his) in customer service and vision-creation. They’re part-way through their 2nd 15-year vision and have a methodology that works for them that they love to share with others.
When I asked Ari about purpose, I was surprised that he wasn’t super clear. He referred to the Zingerman’s Experience from their mission, and then ultimately settled on the idea of leaving everybody better for the interaction with us than they were before they entered.
We share the Zingerman’s Experience
Selling food that makes you happy
Giving service that makes you smile
In passionate pursuit of our mission
Showing love and care in all our actions
To enrich as many lives as we possibly can.
Just as I would never advise anyone to have 10 core values, though that many works for Zappos, I would never advise anyone to have such a long mission, though it clearly works for Zingerman’s. If they weren’t so successful with that they have, I’d recommend they simplify to something like To enrich as many lives as we possibly can. Perhaps such a simplification would help their people be even more clear than they already are?
Buy the Change uses Trade for Better Lives for Women in the Developing World. Co-founder Kari Hughes invited me into the world headquarters (her home) for this interview about why they are, how they got started and why they do what they do. Buy The Change is a Certified Benefit Company (B Corp) (as is TedSarvata.com) committed to being part of the solution to the issues faced by women and girls around the world.
She mentioned a couple of books that were instrumental in her development: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn and Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made It Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide by Stacey Edgar.
They measure impact by how many dollars are we able to put into the hands of women in the developing world. We talked about the potential conflict between purpose and impact, the pendulum, as it were, that swings between focusing on short term benefits to their suppliers, women in the developing world, and more focus on the long term impacts, or more short-term focus on developing markets for these products. After the interview I reflected on the Duncan Berry (Fishpeople) interview on episode 30: https://purposepodcast.com/030. Perhaps that episode will be helpful for Buy the Change. What do you think?
Metropolitan Group’s purpose is “to build a just and sustainable world”. Laura Dellinger, President and Principal tells us about this Portland-based Strategic Communications agency that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary as a social-change agency.
Laura has deep expertise in the use of community engagement to mobilize stakeholders in community-based solutions to social and civic issues, is board chair at Trillium Family Services among many other current and past nonprofit board positions and recently was honored by the Portland Business Journal as Executive of the Year at their Women of Influence Executive awards.
The Power of Voice
Voice is a critical catalyst for social change.
Who has the power of voice and who does not often determines:
Who has access to decent housing, fair wages, safe food, clean water, and quality health care
Who is safe, and who feels safe and able to express their views
Who has the resources to advocate for their beliefs and rights
Who has their perspective accurately portrayed in mainstream media
Who votes, who influences and makes policy
Who has the ability to make change within organizations and communities
If you want to change the world, what should you do? On one level it’s simple, really. Get clear on your purpose and then take action. That action, driven by purpose, is what creates impact: Purpose Drives Impact. This is simple cause and effect, really. Clear purpose leads to impact. Purpose without action is simply dreaming (You can prove this to yourself by pulling out an atlas – remember those? – or Google Earth and look up a place you’ve always wanted to visit. See? You’re dreaming), while action without purpose is running in circles (To prove this, turn on your GPS without a destination and go for a bike ride. See where it takes you. No helpful voice in your earbuds.). read more
My guest on this episode is Deena Pierott whose purpose is Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. She tells us about how she tapped into her purpose even as a little girl, and all the places it’s taken her since, and the impact it’s had on the world.
We’re in the business of helping businesses maximize impact (your bottom line is one kind of impact, but we’re talking about more than that; impact on your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your community at large and the environment). We became a B Corp both to be recognized for the work we’re already doing and to continually hold ourselves to a higher standard.
In this episode we continue where we left off during Episode 13. On that show, we explored the purpose of a one-page strategic plan, core values, quarterly rocks, weekly executive team meeting and a dashboard. This time we cover the purpose of
I would encourage all business owners to do some exercise … [to identify your company’s top core value]. — Su Midghall
Su Midgall of DHM Research elaborated on her purpose of Making An Impact this way: Making sure the values of our community are accurately communicated to decision-makers in government, private businesses and non-profits. We take numbers and convert them into data that contributes to better decisions and better policies that impact our communities.
In the HBR article by Clayton ChristensenHow will you measure your life? (paywall) he asks, “How can I ensure that my relationship with my family proves to be en enduring source of happiness?” I talk about this question and the article to kick off this episode of the podcast.
Ryan Buchanan shared with me eROI’s purpose: Asking why drives us toward what we need rather than what we want. Listen to the episode to find out why Ryan and the eROI team ask Why so much and what I think of that question.
Ryan tells us: “Growth for growth’s sake is not a real purpose.”
Ryan’s advice to entrepreneurs:
You’ve got to start somewhere. The beginning of next week, I encourage you to adopt some of the Rockefeller Habits, adopt the daily standup and in your first hour-long weekly meeting, discuss your values and your purpose. Start this Monday.
Before today’s interview I talk about Blueprint of We, a collaborative framework and document that I’m looking forward to trying. The idea if agreeing together how we’ll handle conflict, before we’re in the middle of a conflict, is very compelling.
Duncan Berry, CEO and Co-Founder of Fishpeople shared with us about his love for fish, Oregon coastal communities, and making an impact. He described their purpose (paraphrased) as being a company that successfully balances our bottom line with heath and growth of the communities on which we depend and long-term, smart use of our natural capital.
His parting advice to entrepreneurs is to make sure that solving a problem for your customers is intimately linked with you accomplishing your purpose. De-link them and you’ll be less successful. Link them and you’ll have a powerful engine for change.
Fish People Shared Purpose Statement
NOURISH our customers with delicious & healthy food from the sea.
RESPECT our fellow supply chain members & pay them well.
Sharon Soliday’s purpose (her “Why”) as owner of The Hello Foundation is to build bridges. What does that mean? She and her team of speech language pathologists help people communicate, and “hello” is the foundation of communication. She serves a wide range of clients including kids with autism, law enforcement personnel seeking to minimize accents so as to be better understood on the radio, people recovering from stroke, etc. Every bit of new communication skill acquired by a client is a bridge that allows connection for the rest of that person’s life, including opening up other avenues leading to new bridges.