2015 Review Employee Engagement, Collaboration, Vision, and Open Book Management

A young chef finds her passion for cooking again, a factory worker’s marriage improves because he’s talking more with his wife, and an owner regains her energy  and love for business as she finds a renewed purpose and a vision for her company.

Todd Reed and Ari Weinzweig, Cofounder and partner of Zingerman's
Todd Reed and Ari Weinzweig

These are a few of the stories I heard while interviewing the gang at Zingerman’s for the first few episodes of the Inspired and Intentional business podcast.

This episode is going to be a brief overview of the top lessons learned and to also point out a few resources I’ve learned of while getting this podcast going.


1. There’s an art to this whole culture thing. To creating and thinking about organizational development. Really thinking through how your people, customers, suppliers and community experience your company. Are you adding benefits beyond pay, product/services and taxes? Why should you?

Maggie Bayless and Todd A Reed in front of ZingTrain's Big Board
I had the opportunity to interview Maggie Bayless, Managing Partner of ZingTrain.

2. People will make up stories in a vacuum. Fill in the holes with truth, openness, and authenticity. Work through what they need to know by putting yourself in their shoes and thinking through what they worry about. What questions will they ask you?

This really goes beyond the simple issue of being open during a crisis. This vacuum is filled day by day via the building of trust within the team. You can’t be open in a crisis and expect people to believe you, you have to open all the time. During the good and the bad.

This topic came up during the discussion of numbers, salaries, profits and what the owners are making, and why certain decisions are made. If they don’t understand numbers and how a company makes a profit and generates cash…on a daily basis, they will make up stories about where all that money is going. (Probably to the government and the bank! : )


3. Collaboration and consensus doesn’t mean you have to agree all the time and always see eye-to-eye on all decisions. Collaboration does need the parties involved to share values and vision. It also doesn’t mean that every decision has to be by consensus or by democratic vote. Just be clear on how the decisions are being made and who’s involved in the process.

4. Systems help employees consistently perform their best when they otherwise don’t feel like it.

5. Dissent – come up with ways to encourage it. There’s the “what’s working/not working” meeting or the open forum method.

6. Create a system for change. Some call it Kaizen and some continuous improvement. Zingerman’s calls it Bottom Line Change.


7. The importance of a vision. So many of the issues brought up would come down to vision. Do your systems support you vision? Do you HR practices support the vision? People are engaged when they’re clear on the vision, take part in creating it, and understand the role they play in making that vision a reality.

Clarity, communication, and consistency are the 3 “C” words I would use when working with my vision.

Please leave your suggestions for interviews, companies, and resources in the comments below or on one of the following channels:

One last favor, reviews and ratings really help other leaders looking for a podcast to inspire them. Please take a moment to review this podcast on iTunes or stitcher.

Thank you for listening and join us next week as continue our conversation with Matthew Bodary from Zingerman’s Coffee Company. Until next week, be inspired and intentional.

The inspired and intentional business podcast is copyright 2016 by it’s owner. The music is Funk Game Loop, Kevin MacLeod Royalty Free from Incompatech. Thank you for sharing your talent.


Classes – Books – Tours – Certifications

B-Corp – from their website – “B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”

BW Leadership Institute – a Barry Wehmiller company

Everybody Matters Book by Bob Chapman

Great Game of Business – business coaching, classes, free resources

Hitachi Foundation – Good Companies at Work

Holocracy – A complete system for self organization

ZingTrain (Books, DVDs, classes, and free resources like essays and webinars.)

News Feeds and Blogs

Forbes – Bill Fotsch and John Case – They write We write about economic transparency and open-book management

Huffington Post – Impact News Feed – good news in the world of business and volunteers

Huffington Post – What’s Working Purpose+Profit – News Feed

Truly Human Leadership – Barry Wehmiller blog written by Bob Chapman, their CEO. This also ties into their podcast, Everybody Matters. They claim to be transforming lives through people-centric leadership.

Talks – Webinars – Podcasts

TED Talk’s Social Good, Inc – ways companies are contributing to the greater good.

TED Talk – Barry Schwartz – How we think about work is broken

TED Talk – Ricardo Semler – How to run a company with (almost) no rules

Businesses that seem to be running well.

Amy’s Ice Cream

Barry Wehmiller – Building a better world through business.

SRC Holdings – The remanufacturing company that started it all – The Great Game of Business anyway.

Tasty Catering – Illinois catering company that has successfully changed the way they do business.

Zingermans Community of Businesses