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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Is the general idea “the building blocks of corporate culture”?
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Why would a business choose these “imperatives” to shape their business?
- Creating the mission & vision is an iterative process that involves many key stakeholders. It takes months and many drafts A Systems POV is designed into it As well as a Net-positive aspiration
The mission answers four essential questions to answer:
What do we do? How do we do it? Whom do we do it for? What value are we bringing?
Building a Purpose Driven Culture
Building a Purpose
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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.
Cultures that express values
aren’t for the faint of heart
Albertsons & Seventh Generation
What else is corporate culture?
It represents the heart and soul of a business
It needs constant attention
It must be systemic and holistic
Alive and ever changing
So what does all that mean?
Mission & Vision
Who you hire
The key elements are a bit
•Human Resource Handbook
•Review of financial results
•Managing bad news
“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
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
6. We are committed to approaching
everything we do from a systems
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
Selecting what’s unique to your culture
Be Radically Transparent
Take on the System
Make a difference
What would you add?
You are who you hire
The interview team
Values vs. skills
Me vs. we
What would you ask to ensure
alignment with your values?
Everyone needs one before they
Operating principles belong in….
Commitment to the process
Frequency – 3 month and 12 month
Alignment with corporate goals
What type of structure would
express your culture?
Defining the bonus pool
Individual vs. company
Access to natural light
Open vs. closed design
Don’t talk to me
How else can design
To grow a business you need to grow
Do you agree?
How do you “grow people?”
Getting started – you’re the coach
How do you model behavior
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
Owners vs. employees
Options, phantom stock
As a % of the whole
Estimating future value
Potential tension with outside investors
Make it your own
Thanksgiving, Halloween & Earth Day
Make up your own holiday
Monthly company wide meetings
Ask me anything
What’s your story in 60 seconds or
The power of a company of
The media & stories vs. products
The good, the bad & the ugly
Peeling back the onion
Sooner rather than later
What would someone else want to know
Building trust & authenticity
Walking the Talk
Be the change you wish to see
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
Making time to participate
Figuring out who your community is
Burlington & Vermont
Natural products industry
Responsible businesses (SVN, B-Corps)
NGO’s (PETA, Vegan, Organic………
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
What is it?
Why you should give it up!
What your lawyer will tell you
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
No need to disclose compensation
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
Who do you belong to?
How are those memberships aligned with
your values and culture?
Eating together builds community
Feeding your staff shows them some love
Make it a ritual
The accounting department may hate
They were the highlight of my years at
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
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
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
Should I stay or should I go
Every 90 days Philip would send a short
email to the whole staff with three
1. Have the last three months been better
that the prior three month period?
3. Should I stay in my job or move on?
We’re here to create a world where women
discuss sex, reproductive healthcare, and
birth control openly and honestly, and never
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.
To celebrate, educate and support
women by providing the products,
knowledge and inspiration they need
to proudly take control of their sexual
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
The Journey of a
“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
#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
Be humble – always
Remember how little you know
Remember that someone always knows more than
What’s on your list of growth projects?
#2 Leadership is not for the
faint of heart
Make sure you are incredibly
Success requires intense professional
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
#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