Intentional Actions, Ji Hye Kim, Part 2 Ep 85

In part one with Ji Hye Kim, Managing Partner and founder of the new Zingerman’s Korean restaurant, Miss Kim we learned about her origin story coming to the US at 13 to being a new managing partner and founder of Zingerman’s newest restaurant.

In this episode we’ll look at what intentional actions she’s taken to bring the Zingerman’s ethos to life in a new venture. In her case, Visioning (something she once viewed as new-agey or just some warm and fuzzy),  Bottom Line Change, Open Book Management, and Servant Leadership.

Listen to what she has to say about these tactics.  Consider how you might adapt these into your organization. Remember, the heart and purpose of your organization must be there, but you create an amazing culture when you imbed that passion and heart with intentional activities into the DNA of your organization.

Notice I said, ‘adapt’, not adopt. Don’t be Zingerman’s. Learn from their intentional actions and make them yours to fit your business.

One last thing I enjoyed about this episode was Ji Hye clarifying for me the concept of servant leadership. I always looked at it as a mantra for the leaders (i.e. The  few in charge of the group.) However, it’s meant for everyone. When you’re serving your peers and also working toward the good of the entire organization, then anyone can exhibit servant leadership.

Let’s hear how Ji Hye creates an intentional culture balancing purpose, people, and profit.

I would love to see your comments below, on our Facebook group page, or in an amazing review on your favorite podcast app.

Also, please join the email list to get an email every 3 weeks or so when I announce the latest series and also share any tips or news I’ve seen that will help you design a company that will engage your employees with inspiration and intentionality.


Miss Kim’s website –

MLive story titled, “Zingerman’s newest partner: San Street’s Ji Hye Kim is guided by passion”
— MLive

Notes taken during editing of the episode.

What part of ZCOB is she most passionate? Visioning and Bottom Line Change.

Visioning can seem new age or warm and fuzzy. It’s putting out in the universe and making it more real to your and your brain. It’s a practical way to create a destination.

She took the visioning course, before committing to going down the path to partnership. While taking it she pushed aside her skepticism and her desire for privacy and wrote one down.

Her first one was simple: have a good tasting artisanal soy sauce. By placing it on paper, it put it on her radar and therefore she ‘was lucky” and found one.

Your conciousness is on it. Now they do them all the time for a variety of things at the restaurant.

Open Book Management has been big as a startup. For example, they’re thinking about not having tips and instead, paying them more wage. So talking about the labor line has been very important. Sharing the numbers has made the business more human.

All the people own a line and take their line seriously.  A line is a number that is reported, forecasted, and planned. Another example would be the alcohol line.

Forecasting is not predicting, forecasting is a measurable, inspiring, and achievable goal. When you come in for a shift you are the champion for that line. It appears into a trackable financial target.

The toughest part is that there is so much to offer in the ZCOB that she can’t afford to send her people to all of them.

ZCOB has a centralized service network that provides accounting, HR, service steward, marketing, etc. The service steward help (coaches/consults) Miss Kim’s to adapt and install various services and feedback. For example, she helped to come up with a customer scorecard.    

A tough part of the ZCOB – Servant Leadership – they are in service of the organization, not themselves. For some, this only means leader to employee. But it really means that all people, at all levels, give for the benefit of the overall organization, not just themselves or those “under” them.