Day 13: Wednesday, April 15, 2020 

Lee Andrews, Mars Wrigley: How to Embed Purpose into the Heart of a Business

Lee Andrews shared the story of Mars’ historical commitment to purpose and how that long-standing commitment has resulted in the company’s mission for creating mutual value for its global stakeholders. 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar:

At a time like this, purpose will provide a steady and strong direction to all your efforts.

Mars’ purpose statement was penned in 1947 and it is as relevant today as it has ever been. Lee tells us that this statement “forces us to be a leader…we think about years, decades, and generational change.” At Mars, a strong, authentic purpose has enabled them to think about how they respond to the crisis globally. Prioritizing and reinforcing the choices they make in this order:

  1.     The health and well-being of all people in the company, 
  2.     Identify ways to play a role to stop/slow the spread of the virus while also playing a role to help our stakeholders to survive.
  3.     Maintain business continuity by finding better ways to connect to our stakeholders to perform and deliver. 

“Performance without purpose is meaningless, and similarly, purpose without performance isn’t possible.” – Grant Reid, CEO, Mars, Incorporated 

Mars does not incentivize performance; they incentivize mutual relationships. This a long-term approach to the concept of mutuality as a win-win-win for Mars and all the stakeholders they work with.

“The world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today.” – Mars

Lee shared an excellent example of how Mars makes global impact within each of their brands, saying “We are lucky, given our size and scale, we get to solve a lot of issues.” For example, Mars Banfield focuses on keeping pets healthy. But this work extends beyond just the pets; it includes working with governors in cities and towns across America to make their cities more pet friendly. This is good for the pets, but also for the environment, for mental health, etc. This is an excellent example of how Mars solves big problems by leveraging who they really are at core.

Support employees to live with purpose.

Mars is always looking for people’s learning potential and ability to grow into their next 4 roles. Long careers at Mars are more common than short careers, instilling long-term thinking in employees’ personal growth. Lee shares, “We invest a lot in our managers to be great people developers,” putting people into the right positions based on their strengths and skills. 

Work with stakeholders to make the industry better than it is today.

When Mars works with suppliers, they seek to leverage their 5 principles (Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, and Freedom) allowing them to say that they want to do everything they can do to move the industry in a positive direction and looking for ways they can do that together. Lee shares, “We have a lot of long-term, loyal suppliers…It’s the mutuality of our approach. It’s a constant iteration, a constant cycle that resonates with our stakeholders demonstrating that we really mean what we say….Our purpose costs us a lot of money, but it allows us to grow in a way that we are proud of.”

Find a way to share your purpose and your principles that resonates with your team.

At Mars, they share their purpose through a storytelling culture. The team regularly shares stories from the past and present about how purpose played a role in good decision making. They also make their purpose a practice, by using it in everyday decision making. Always asking, “How can we make something “more mutual?”

Chip Conley, Airbnb & Modern Elder Academy: How to Create New Cross-Generational Impact in Your Company

Did you know we currently have 5 generations in the workplace for the very first time ever? Chip led us through an exploration of “middlescence”, a new stage of life, and the generational impact of its “modern elders” who are critical to innovation and execution. 

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar:

Modern elders are critical to creating truly successful, innovative businesses.

Modern elders (45-60) aren’t “old”, they are just older than the people around them. They are as curious as they are wise, and they often provide a fundamental balance in the workplace, balancing out the DQ (digital intelligence) with experiential EQ (emotional intelligence). 

We are awash in knowledge; we need more wisdom.

Knowledge is additional; you add knowledge as you learn new things. Wisdom is a divisional; it takes the knowledge and distills it down to what is truly important. This particular skill set comes with experience, which often correlates with age. In organizations today, we have tons of knowledge, but little ability to prioritize. Modern elders provide much needed wisdom in the workplace.

There are 3 things you can do at home to understand, cultivate, and harvest your own wisdom:

  • Become a superb editor. Identify your mindsets, ways of thinking, and identities that are not supporting you. For example, feeling irrelevant. Ask yourself: What do I need to cut out that’s not providing value for me?
  • Mine your mastery using the “same question 5 times” exercise. You may have developed some skills that you are able to give to the world and the workplace that you don’t even know are valuable. Here’s a great exercise to help you uncover your mastery: Have a conversation with a friend and say to the friend: Ask me this question 5 times: What mastery do you offer? Each time you receive the question you must answer it in a new way. Remember! You can’t answer the same way twice. The goal is to get closer and closer to identifying your own mastery.
  • Cultivate Community. Part of the reason we see a mid-life suicide epidemic is because people feel lonely and they lack community. There are so many transitions taking place in mid-life (divorce, health diagnoses, family passing away, menopause, etc.) but very little community to back that up. It helps to build a community of modern elders who may be very different from you on the surface. 
Gary Moon, NFluence Partners, Alexandra Stanton, Empire Global Ventures, and Lawrence Ford, Conscious Capital Wealth Management: How To Support Mission Aligned Investment

We heard from Gary Moon, Alexandra Stanton, and Lawrence Ford – all leaders in mission aligned investment. Here are a few key takeaways from the webinar: 

Take some time for internal introspection. 

What you do with your money is an expression of your values system. This is a great exercise to help you get in touch with your values. Shamans call it “stalking”. Take yourself out of yourself and take a look at your thoughts. The purpose of this exercise is to connect better with yourself and your values and also to build greater awareness that whether it’s through our breath or markets – we are all deeply interconnected. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit in silence. Then take a big breath and observe a thought you are having and as you breath out – label the thought either Present, Past, Future, or Not sure.
    Example 1: You might have the thought “Breakfast was good this morning.” This thought is about the Past.
    Example 2:  You might have the thought “I’m grateful for this time with myself today.” This thought is about the Present. 

There’s a light on everything now. We can make great changes with the tools called Conscious Capitalism.

In the public equity markets -regardless of what level you’re at – most good people would rather not have their money degrade the earth or support child labor in a third world country. We all have the power to put our money towards a world where we don’t have to sacrifice on returns. This is a good time to think more carefully about the impact of our investments. How can we be more conscious about where we invest our money?

Relationships are key. 

There are lots of opportunities to make mission driven investments right now, and that’s wonderful. Keep in mind that relationships really matter a lot too. The people who act in a decent way -that is going to make a difference. – from small companies to great big ones. If they are showing up as good people in this crisis, you will want to do more business with them.

Look for authentic caring.

Faking caring is difficult during a crisis. Authentic caring usually starts with a company rallying together to make a plan for how they will support their stakeholders. Just because a company is really big, it doesn’t mean they’re bad. 

Here’s some advice on how to get involved in supporting mission aligned investment:

  • Trust in God but tie your camel.” In short, have faith that you’re investing your money in the right place, but be sure you are covered in case the investment doesn’t work out.
  • Know what you care about and invest your money there. What do you care about? Is it sustainable cities? Autonomous vehicles for people with disabilities? Figure out what your passion is and what really moves you and consider investing there.
  • Trust your gut. You need to have a decent gut reaction to the people in the company. 
  • Like who you are in the mirror. You want to be able to look at yourself and be proud of what you see, not the physical beauty, but the beauty you are trying to create in the world with your investment.
  • Pay attention to where you spend your money. Not everyone will have the means to invest in mission aligned companies, but you can pay attention to how you spend as a consumer.
  • Look beyond the headlines.  Headlines don’t tell the whole story. If you are really interested in a company – investigate and look for the talk vs. the walk gap.

Now is an amazing opportunity to do good and do well. 

Good ideas come in all shapes and sizes – this is a time when people see themselves as leaders. This is the time to step forward. There is an ability now for diverse leaders to break through – make opportunities to connect with new ideas. “This is the moment in this American fabric, this American community, to have that spirit of openness.”

Nathan Havey and the TRU Colors Team: Press, George Taylor, KO
Measuring Success in Shots Not Fired: How a North Carolina Brewery is Ending a War

The last session of the day featured Press, KO, and George – leaders at TRU Colors Brewery – sharing their story about how a North Carolina brewery is ending gang violence by building a “stage 5” conscious business. 

Here are the key takeaways:

TRU Colors is a stage 5 conscious business. What does that mean?

Stage 1 indicates an almost total absence of purpose beyond making profit. Stage 3 seeks to be a fair player, but maintains “business is business”. Stage 5 embodies a specific, measurable purpose beyond profit. In their own words, “TRU Colors is a business employing active, rival gang members coming together to stop gun violence. Our business is to brew great beer but our mission is to resolve conflicts through honest conversations and understanding. We’re tired of saying “RIP” so we’re committed to each other and our community to STOP GUN VIOLENCE.”

A conscious business can be a solution to a big problem like gang violence.

The founders of this company didn’t set out to build a brewery, they set out to end gang violence. They quickly discovered that if you’re going to deal with the violence on the streets, you need to work with people who are directly involved with the violence in the streets. They invited active gang members to attend meetings on sat morning to discuss how they all might address the violence, they discovered that “opportunity is a great equalizer”, so they tested the theory to see if they could transfer street skills into the workplace. People from different gangs started talking to one another, they started having conversations and discovered that they didn’t actually hate each other. After 2 months, crime in the city went down 78%.

Awkward conversations are the key to success.

TRU Colors is built on conversation – often really awkward conversations that challenge beliefs – especially limiting beliefs that need to be torn down. Team members often arrive with a wide range of limiting beliefs – I’m not smart enough, my skin is the wrong color, I’ve done terrible things; I don’t deserve happiness. These beliefs create roadblocks. But these roadblocks are removable in just 2 months of “boot camp”. The TRU Colors team have learned that once you believe you deserve to be happy – you can start to layer on skills. TRU Colors pairs those skills with an opportunity to work for a livable wage, completing the trajectory: Conversation leads to Growth leads to Prosperity leads to Peace. This process takes only months, not years 

It’s been a crooked path.

One of the challenges of TRU Colors, is there is no playbook. Leaders on the panel recognized that “We’ve been wrong.” Some decisions have even resulted in violence. In an ordinary company, you can let somebody go. At TRU Colors, if you let someone go, the chances of them going to jail are pretty high. The consequences are very different. We continue to make mistakes just as we continue to learn.

Why doesn’t everyone do this? The better question is: Why doesn’t everyone do something?

If you’re an investor, today is the day to invest. If you’re a business person, you can do something in this area. Decide what you are able to do, and make that choice.