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Building a Purpose Driven Culture

Successful purpose driven brands build strong and deep corporate cultures. Those cultures must be systemically and holistically aligned with the businesses mission, vision and values. Purpose based cultures impact and influence all aspects of the business and must be invented and reinvented as a business grows and evolves. Hear about how Seventh Generation built and maintained a culture that created an outstanding place to work, supported a brand that engendered tremendous customer loyalty and created significant financial value.

Jeffrey Hollender is CEO, co-founder and Board Chair of the American Sustainable Business Council, which through its national member network represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. He was co-founder and CEO of Seventh Generation, which he built into a leading natural product brand known for its authenticity, transparency, and progressive business practices.

Hollender is also the founder of Sustain Natural, that develops and markets sustainable feminine care products for women; and a strategic advisor and former Board Chair of Greenpeace US. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of sustainability and social entrepreneurship at the Stern Business School, New York University. He is also the author of his seven books, including most recently, “The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win and Planet Home.”

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Building a Purpose Driven Culture

  1. 1. Building a Purpose Driven Culture an ASBC Webinar
  2. 2. Part #1 Unfortunately it’s hard to have a conversation with 200 people!
  3. 3. Successful purpose driven brands build strong and deep corporate cultures. Those cultures must be systemically and holistically aligned with the businesses mission, vision and values. Purpose based cultures impact and influence all aspects of the business and must be invented and reinvented as a business grows and evolves.
  4. 4. What is corporate culture?
  5. 5. Cultures that express values aren’t for the faint of heart Albertsons & Seventh Generation
  6. 6. What else is corporate culture? It represents the heart and soul of a business It’s complex It needs constant attention It must be systemic and holistic Alive and ever changing So what does all that mean?
  7. 7. Mission & Vision Operating principles Global Imperatives Who you hire Job descriptions Performance reviews Incentive structure Office design Development programs Management modeling Ownership Tradition Storytelling Radical Transparency The key elements are a bit overwhelming
  8. 8. •Community participation •Human Resource Handbook •At-will employment •Review of financial results •Sustainability reporting •Food •Retreats •Managing bad news
  9. 9. Purpose: Seventh Generations Global imperatives “What does the world most need that we are uniquely qualified to provide?” 1. As a business we are committed to being educators and to encourage those we educate to create with us a world of equity and justice, health and wellbeing. 2. To achieve that we must create a world of more conscious workers, citizens and consumers.
  10. 10. 3. We are committed to creating a world that is rich in value as contrasted to a world that is rich in artifacts. 4. We will work to create Governance and social systems that increase the capacity for understanding differing perspectives and points of view. 5. We believe that our business and all businesses should engage in the personal development of everyone who works for them.
  11. 11. 6. We are committed to approaching everything we do from a systems perspective. 7. We must ensure that globally, natural resources are used and renewed at a rate that is always below their rate depletion. 8. We are committed to creating a business which is not just sustainable but restorative.
  12. 12. Operating Principles Selecting what’s unique to your culture Working Consciously Celebrate Be Radically Transparent Take on the System Make a difference What would you add?
  13. 13. You are who you hire The interview team Values vs. skills Me vs. we Interview questions What would you ask to ensure alignment with your values? Inquisitive people References
  14. 14. Job descriptions Everyone needs one before they are hired Operating principles belong in…. Sustainability Responsibilities Skills required
  15. 15. Performance reviews Commitment to the process Frequency – 3 month and 12 month 360 Reviews Measurable objectives Developmental goals Alignment with corporate goals
  16. 16. Incentive structure What type of structure would express your culture? Defining the bonus pool Individual vs. company performance Incentive bands
  17. 17. Office design Access to natural light Open vs. closed design Don’t talk to me Phone booths LEAD How else can design express culture?
  18. 18. Development programs To grow a business you need to grow people! Do you agree? How do you “grow people?” Getting started – you’re the coach External resources Time constraints How do you model behavior
  19. 19. Senior management modeling Career success vs. development Nothing left to learn I’m all business… If the leaders don’t do it…… Listening skills, humbleness, team builders
  20. 20. Ownership Owners vs. employees Options, phantom stock Annual valuation How much? As a % of the whole Estimating future value Potential tension with outside investors
  21. 21. Tradition Make it your own Thanksgiving, Halloween & Earth Day Make up your own holiday Monthly company wide meetings Ask me anything
  22. 22. Storytelling What’s your story in 60 seconds or less? The power of a company of storytellers Teaching storytelling The media & stories vs. products
  23. 23. Radical Transparency The good, the bad & the ugly Peeling back the onion Sooner rather than later What would someone else want to know Nervous lawyers Building trust & authenticity Dioxane story
  24. 24. Walking the Talk Be the change you wish to see Be systemic! Tampontification Change It: Greenpeace WAGES
  25. 25. Managing bad news Make sure your staff hears bad news first Tell everyone at once. No rumors Make sure they hear it directly from you Don’t sugarcoat it But never create unnecessary fear and insecurity
  26. 26. Community participation Making time to participate It’s expensive Figuring out who your community is Burlington & Vermont Natural products industry Responsible businesses (SVN, B-Corps) NGO’s (PETA, Vegan, Organic………
  27. 27. Human Resource Handbooks It’s a legal document Find a model Tell your story Everything but the kitchen sink: Benefits, hiring, firing, mission & values Review it every year
  28. 28. At-will employment What is it? Why you should give it up! What your lawyer will tell you
  29. 29. Review of financial results You can’t drive without a map There’s nothing to hide, you’re employees should be owners Do it quarterly Make it personal, how can I make a difference No need to disclose compensation
  30. 30. Sustainability reporting It’s a lot of work It will force you to ensure your commitments to sustainability remains at the forefront of your culture What gets measured is what matters Dashboard
  31. 31. Memberships Who do you belong to? How are those memberships aligned with your values and culture?
  32. 32. Food Eating together builds community Feeding your staff shows them some love Make it a ritual
  33. 33. Retreats The accounting department may hate them They were the highlight of my years at Seventh Generation Make sure everyone bears the burden of time away from the office It should put everyone on an equal footing Cross departmental planning is a must Deep sharing builds strong bonds
  34. 34. The Love Machine Philip Rosedale, the CEO of Linden Labs and the creator of Second Life created an amazing way to recognize unrecognized workers who do something great It’s called “The Love Machine,” and it simply allows anyone to send a preformatted email to the whole company recognizing any good deed done by another staff member
  35. 35. Should I stay or should I go Every 90 days Philip would send a short email to the whole staff with three questions: 1. Have the last three months been better that the prior three month period? 2. Why? 3. Should I stay in my job or move on?
  36. 36. Sustain’s Vision We’re here to create a world where women discuss sex, reproductive healthcare, and birth control openly and honestly, and never with judgment. Where women have the tools they need to take control of their sexual health. Where people understand the connection between reproductive health care and hunger, poverty, and climate change. Where we leave the planet better off than how we found it.
  37. 37. Sustain’s Mission To celebrate, educate and support women by providing the products, knowledge and inspiration they need to proudly take control of their sexual health. Operating at the highest level of sustainability, we will be a disruptive force in the reproductive healthcare industry, driving it towards greater access, safer products, and increased transparency.
  38. 38. The Journey of a Developmental Leader “True leadership is about creating a domain in which we continually learn and become more capable of participating in our unfolding future. A true leader thus sets the stage on which predictable miracles, synchronistic in nature, can—and do—occur. The deeper territory of leadership— collectively ‘listening’ to what is wanting to emerge in the world, and then having the courage to do what is required.” Joseph Jaworski in Synchronicity
  39. 39. #1 Leadership is not for the faint of heart To grow a business you need to grow yourself! “Ask questions – don’t provide answers” Growth requires clear intention so write it down and tell others Be humble – always Remember how little you know Remember that someone always knows more than you do What’s on your list of growth projects?
  40. 40. #2 Leadership is not for the faint of heart Make sure you are incredibly passionate Success requires intense professional will It’s never over till you decide to give up Make sure you have a coach or mentor Trust your intuition – always Therapy helps – almost always
  41. 41. #3 Leadership is not for the faint of heart Stay healthy mentally and physically Stop and reflect Celebrate the journey Leadership is an art ultimately measured by the success of those we lead