Ep 47 Millennial’s Perspective of Zingerman’s

Kathryn Wagner is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Marketing. She joined Zingerman’s Coffee House 5 months prior to our interview. After typing up that title for the blog/podcast, I felt kind of guilty because I only partially buy-in to the labels we give the different generations. There are characteristics. However, Kathryn in no way was here to represent a generation. She was asked 5 minutes before we interviewed to chat with me and she said yes. That all said, I did bring up  the “M” word to get her thoughts on the matter. 

Me, Todd Reed and Kathryn Wagner, Zingerman's Coffee Company
Me, Todd Reed and Kathryn Wagner, Zingerman’s Coffee Company

As with most of the people I meet at Zingerman’s, she’s thoughtful, insightful, and an absolute pleasure to speak with.

I also thought during her and many other interviews that I don’t want to overwhelm you with Zingerman’s people. This team they have there is so nice and the systems/culture they have in place is something special. But it’s not perfect and it’s not necessarily the end-all-be-all. I share these stories to inspire you that there is another way. What, from what they’re sharing can you adapt, not adopt to your business?

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Does your interview process allow you to represent your company as your really are? Does your interview process allow the candidates allow them to be themselves?

This is not something you can fake – but do candidates feel welcome when they’re in for their interviews?

Would you allow a 5 month employee to represent your company to the “media” without prep or practice?

You have the ability to “make it right” with a customer. Do you give your people this ability?

Are you providing opportunities for millennials?

Is your company compassionate with your people? Do you care?

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Quote – 10 minutes – What’s really going on at Zingerman’s? Oh, people believe in you.

Systems and Culture Gap – Need to look this up.

It doesn’t really matter how the employee feels. There’s no emphasis on why the product is great. You don’t really know why you’re supposed to be selling something. 

We talk Millennials. “I don’t want to pour myself into something and then leave, just to leave.”

Making it right doesn’t cost money. The mistake is what cost the company money.

Perspective on Open Book Management – there’s nothing to hide. There are no secrets. “There’s no uneasiness on what the numbers might be, you know what they are.”

How does OBM, Open Book Management, affect her day-to-day job? She’s in charge of social media and it helps her connect what is happening in the sales side of things to help her decisions on what to promote.

One suggestion for someone in a position where the company isn’t in alignment with your values. Perhaps start with personal vision, your passions, and caring for yourself.

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