Purposeful Growth: The New Revolution For Business Success

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Marketing Podcast with Mark Mears

In this episode of the <a href=Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Mark Mears. He’s a Best Selling author, keynote speaker, and consultant. Serves as Chief Growth Officer for LEAF Growth Ventures, LLC; a consulting firm inspiring individuals, teams, and organizations to find purposeful growth for business success while making a positive, lasting difference in the world. 

Mark’s new book The Purposeful Growth Revolution: 4 Ways to Grow from Leader to Legacy Builder, is designed to help individuals, teams, and organizations find their purpose, fulfill their true growth potential, and leave a living legacy. 


Key Takeaway:

It is important to grow intentionally into one’s purpose and fulfill that purpose over time. Mark explains that a living legacy is someone who makes a difference in people’s lives and inspires them to want to do likewise. Meanwhile, purposeful growth can be aligned with profitability and philanthropy and should be the central focus for businesses as it leads to engaged and motivated team members, happier customers, and stronger communities. By creating a sense of community and belonging for team members, companies can attract and retain quality employees, becoming more profitable, and ultimately having purposeful growth.

Questions I ask Mark Mears:

  • [01:39] How would you define purposeful growth as opposed to growth?
  • [02:55] What would you say to large organizations who say, that’s a good idea but we have shareholders that care about how growth has to be measured?
  • [07:15] It takes time to build a culture and the processes that are going to drive purpose deep into the organization. I think that people just get kind of short-sighted, don’t they?
  • [13:02] Another important concept of this book is the difference between a leader and a legacy builder. Could you explain that difference?
  • [15:12] What are some of the first places a company might start going to try to make a change in their culture?

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Nudge, hosted by Phil Agnew, and it's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. You ever noticed how the smallest changes can make the biggest impact on Nudge you learned simple evidence, back tips to help you kick bat habits, get a raise, and grow your business. In a recent episode, Phil tested a thousand dollars on some marketing principles, some work, some don't. Uh, guest Nancy Har Hut, who's been a guest of the show as well. And Phil put these principles to test in a set of real life experiments. You'll learn what works and what doesn't. Listen to Nudge wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:52): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Mark Mears. He's a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and consultant. He serves as the Chief Growth officer of LEAF Growth Ventures, LLC; a consulting firm inspiring individuals, teams, and organizations to find purpose and fulfilling their true growth potential while making a positive lasting difference in the world. And we're gonna talk about his fairly new book titled, the Purposeful Growth Revolution: 4 Ways To Grow From Leader to Legacy Builders. So Mark, welcome to the show.

Mark Mears (01:30): Thanks, John. It's a pleasure to be here.

John Jantsch (01:32): Well, as listeners know, sometimes I, I like to start with the title and break some things down. And so I want to just, can I ask you, how do you define purposeful growth as opposed to, I don't know, growth ?

Mark Mears (01:44): Well, I think the whole emphasis on purpose is on important. Is important, and it's on purpose because purpose matters. And it's not because I say it does, it's because all the research suggests it. It is a very important part of what we're all here to do. And while we all think maybe of purpose is some sort of noun or thing, like I gotta find my purpose, uh, I I I really look at purposeful as a better word cuz it's an action word. Mm-hmm. . And I believe we're always growing up into our purpose. And when we know what that is, we can grow more purposefully into that vision and that version of ourselves. If, if, if you just grow and you're really not growing on purpose, you could be like a weed and you're just kind of Yeah. All you know, like, you know, all over the place. Right? But when you really laser focus in on who you are, who you are, and what we're all put on this earth to do based on the unique skillsets and gifts we've all been given, then you're fulfilling a purpose over time. And that word fulfilling is also very important.

John Jantsch (02:55): So, so I know that in, in looking at your bio, you, you spent a deal of your career working with very large organizations and you know, many of them would say, well, yeah, this is a good idea, but we have shareholders that we have to care about. We have, you know, our growth has to be measured, you know, maybe in a much broader, deeper way. It can't be somebody's, you know, individual vision, you know, what would you say to somebody who says, well, that's a good idea, but ?

Mark Mears (03:22): Well, you know, I've spent a lot of time doing research and I'm also a member of a global organization called Conscious Capitalism. And it was based on a book that was written by Whole Foods co-founder and Seed. Yeah. John Love John Mackey and Raj. Yeah. And so they really break down this whole idea that it's not an an or proposition, it's an and proposition. And some of the most profitable companies in the world are some of the most philanthropic and are the most purposeful. And so when I hear that as someone who spent over 20 years in the C-suite, and I was, I, I, you know, I was consciously, I guess, capitalistic before I ever heard the term because I just believe that you can do well by doing good. And if you think about what's been going on specifically during this covid era with the great resignation, which I call the great repurposing, which we can talk about Yeah.

(04:23): For quiet, quitting, and according to Gallup, historically low levels of engagement among team members. And then you juxtapose it by saying, well, why did people leave the workforce? And you look at the study that the Sloan School of Management at M I t, uh, conducted over 34 million people who left the workforce during Covid and asked them a simple question why the number one answer, John, over 10 times more than the second most given answer was toxic work environment compensation didn't come up until number 16 on the list. So when you think about pragmatically in a boardroom, you know, I believe you have four stakeholders, and I think it's all about stakeholder balance. You've got your team members, not employees, you've got your guests or customers or clients. You've got your business partners, which could include shareholders if you're pub publicly traded, like several companies I've been part of are.

(05:20): And then you have your communities. And, and if, if you think that purpose plays a huge role, if that's a four circle Venn diagram, think of that as purposeful growth right in the middle, all revolving around it. And, and now breaking it down even further to some of the CFOs who say, well, I'm just all about metrics. Fine. You like profit, don't you? Well, what's the largest line item on most PNLs? It's usually labor, right? Yeah. So think about the cost it takes to find, recruit, hire, train, recognize, reward, and retain a team member. And what happens if they leave? It creates a vicious cycle where you've gotta re yeah, repeat that process all over again. Not to mention the, uh, engagement loss of others who may be disgruntled or maybe the cost of replacing others and or, you know, the cost of, of loss of productivity because that person left, it takes time to, to fill it.

(06:26): So in black and white, the notion, John, of purpose and profit is much more aligned than it is purpose or profit or purposes, a rounding error. Maybe we'll get to it. It's a nice feel good. Yeah. We'll throw a little something into the charity basket. That's not the way business is being done today. Nor do I believe it's the way that we will be able to recruit the best and brightest because many of them are asking their interview questions right now, am I gonna be able to fulfill my purpose here? Or what's the purpose of this company over and above profit? They really want to know that, especially among the younger millennials and Gen Z.

John Jantsch (07:07): Yeah. Yeah. And I think that, I mean, I'm not debating that in any way, shape, or form, but I do think a lot of organizations, you know, it takes time to build that culture. It takes time to build the processes that are gonna drive purpose deep into the organization. And I think that people just get kind of shortsighted, don't they? And think, oh no, we just need more sales.

Mark Mears (07:25): That, that's why I call it the purposeful growth revolution, John. It's because this really is a revolution. It's taking place. And many companies are jumping on board and others are gonna follow because that's the new way of work. And if you think about the idea of, I looked at, at brands as a, a branding expert, most people say, well, there's one brand, it's, uh, whatever. It's Pepsi, it's Coke, it's McDonald's, it's whatever. I think, no. Then we heard, well, there's two brands. The internal brand, the external brand, well, I believe there are four brands. There's the personal brand that each and every one of our team members, including ourselves, has, whether we know it or not, it asks the question, who am I? And then the internal brand is the collective we of the organization, which then asks the question, what do we stand for?

(08:18): And then the third brand is the external brand that goes to the end user, the client, the customer, the guest, and the community, which should ask the question, what, what value is being exchanged here? And then finally, there is the employer brand that is really taking off because of the scarcity of finding and keeping good quality people. And that asks the question, do I belong here? And belonging is so important, John. We talk about d e i and we should diversity, equity, inclusion. But if you think about it, diversity just gets us in the door. Inclusion gets us a seat at the table, and equity gives us an equal voice and all that's great. But if we don't feel like we belong, we're probably not gonna feel vulnerable enough to give of our very best, because we're just happy to be in the room where it happened.

(09:10): Right? The quote Hamilton. And I think that's really the importance today of making every team member feel like they're a valued member of the team. I've come up with an acronym called Love Listen. Mm-hmm , observe value and empower. And if you think about those four very powerful components to building a lasting, loving relationship, well then you're not gonna get the quiet quitting, then you're not gonna get the resigning and moving on to somewhere else. Uh, you're gonna get people that build that team mentality. And, you know, I'm blessed to live here in Kansas City and we have the Kansas City Chiefs, and we just won the Super Bowl. But after that game, you saw people making plays who didn't make plays all year, but they played their role in their moment. And that allowed the whole team to persevere and ultimately win the game's, grandest on the game's grandest stage.

(10:13): And so making people feel like they're a valuable member of the team and empowering them to be their best, whatever their superpower is, allow them to, uh, to really maximize that for the benefit of the team. You wouldn't say to Patrick Mahomes, Hey, you're a pretty good quarterback, pat, but you know, you can't tackle for crap, so we're gonna put you on the defensive line to round you out of bed. That would be a waste, right? But I've been in companies where they've done that and they've said, well, you're really good at this, but we went, we went around you out. And they, they, they, they put me or other people in these, you know, uh, these areas that they had no interest in, no aptitude in. And they finally kind of said, look, I'm just, I'm gonna leave and go somewhere where my true talents are, you know, allowed to shine, and I could actually have help getting them to be even better.

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(12:51): Well, as a chiefs fan, I, I would say that it appears Andy Reid is actually very good at that, what you just mentioned, you know, getting everybody to step up and play their role. Mm-hmm. . Yep. Another point in concept of this book is the, the, the difference between leader and legacy builder, as you call it. Um, I wonder if you could spend some time kind of unpacking that concept.

Mark Mears (13:11): Absolutely. You know, John, everybody seems to want to learn how to be a better leader. That's great. I mean, it's a multi-billion dollar industry from Yes, yes. It's, you know, what we're doing here, podcast to conferences, to seminars, to webinars, to e-newsletters, you name it. And if you google the word leader or leadership, you'll get 1.7 billion with a b hits. So we know people wanna learn how to be a better leader and that's great, but not too many people are asking a question, how do I create a legacy and in fact, a living legacy? I don't wanna wait till I'm dead and beque something. Not that definition of legacy, but yeah, every single day, how can I create a living legacy that ultimately creates a ripple effect to where I can support you on your growth journey, and then you're gonna want to do likewise.

(14:08): So it comes back to my personal brand and I wrote a purpose statement and it says, I don't want to just make money and retire. I wanna make a difference and inspire. And that means making a difference in the lives of others and inspiring them to wanna do likewise. So it creates this virtuous cycle reciprocity, or what I call paying it backward that helps elevate others and inspires them to wanna do likewise. And now you're creating a living legacy and, and suggesting that leadership is important of course, but making a difference in the lives of people and aspiring them to wanna do likewise is really where that, uh, term comes from.

John Jantsch (14:51): So if somebody's saying to themselves, they read the book, they're listening to this podcast, and they're saying to themselves, this makes a lot of sense. We need to do this at our organization. And yet, you know, the environment and the culture is what it is today, . And so walking in is saying it's a new day sometimes is tough. So what are some of the maybe small steps, uh, that can show you wanna move this direction? Or what are some of the first places company might start going to try to make a change, uh, in the culture?

Mark Mears (15:18): Yeah, and you know, John, and throughout my career, I've, I've had the good fortune to be in some companies that lived into its purpose.

John Jantsch (15:28): Yeah.

Mark Mears (15:29): And now many people would call it a culture, but what I'm, what I love to do is look at words deeply. And I believe that a community is better than culture. A culture may just be something you're part of. A community is something that you can belong in. And where there's that sense of belonging and that sense of teamwork, you know, I liken it to a rowing team where all orbs are in the water rowing together. It's called swing, I'm told. And it actually lifts the boat and, you know, propels it swiftly through the water. The Cheesecake Factory, when I was the chief marketing officer, there was one such company, but it starts at the top and the CEO has to be bought in, uh, because otherwise it can turn into some flavor of the month initiative. Or if it comes from hr, it's like, well, it might get patted on the head and say that cube, but it has to come from the leader.

(16:25): And the leader needs to understand that this idea of being purposeful will in, in allow all shareholders that the rising tide that lifts all boats, it will help attract and retain and engage team members, right? So they'll, they'll be more productive. It will, uh, trickle to your customers or clients or guests depending on what your industry is, and they'll notice the value that exchange and, and see that's more profitable. We know that, um, companies who are more purposeful, there are people now that are, are, you know, going to those companies and spending more because they believe what I believe, right? And then your shareholders and your business partners, anybody in that business ecosystem is going to be lifted up because you're gonna be more profitable. And then the communities in which you serve, and it could be your immediate community, it could be regionally, it could be nationally, or could be globally, are gonna benefit from your purposeful living and the way you take the profits that you make and distribute them. Or maybe it's your business practices, maybe they're more sustainable and in some way you're helping the world be better because you are in it. Now, if I were a CEO and I have been and someone were to tell me that, I'd say I wanna listen. Yeah. I mean, let, let me read this book because that it is a playbook for how to grow a company from just being a company who makes widgets and earns a profit to a company that literally creates this community of which many people, all four stakeholders benefit.

John Jantsch (18:14): Yeah. I've had, there've been some recent books on this topic and I've had guests on this show that have talked about community from a marketing standpoint is actually being kind of the last frontier that, you know, that all the digital stuff and all the tactics that you know that people play in, you know, the most potent one is building a strong community.

Mark Mears (18:34): Yeah. And I think, you know, during Covid, we, we all, I think got a little some time out to really reflect deeply on not only what you bet who matters most in our lives. And I think while we were sequestered in homes and doing meetings via Zoom or other digital platforms, I think we all realized how much we need community. And when you think about this idea of, you know, who matters most, I go back to the Simon Sinek model and start with why. But I believe instead of just the why, how, and what he's missing, something very important. The who, the who you serve when you think about it, four circle then diagram cuz they're all intertwined like our four seasons, right? It could be spiritual, relational, personal, and professional. We're whole people. And that's why I put that emphasis on the personal brand that is just now starting to gain more traction instead of you're hired and you should be glad you got hired and here's your paycheck and you should be glad you're getting a paycheck to, that's, I wanna treat you as a whole person and I wanna treat you as a team member cuz I don't want you resigning or quietly quitting or, or all those negative things.

(19:54): I really want this enterprise to succeed. And now based on this notion of who you serve that serves as a foundation for then how you plug in to that collective we of the internal brand that then leads to how you deliver the value to the external brand and then how you recruit, uh, engage and retain team members through your employer brand. So it's all intertwined and revolving around purposeful growth.

John Jantsch (20:23): So I noticed on your website, like all good consultants, you have an assessment where somebody can actually kind of yes,

Mark Mears (20:30): Maybe

John Jantsch (20:30): Get a baseline on where they are and some of those, uh, things you want to invite people to where they might find that, find out more about you and connect and obviously I, I know the book's available pretty much anywhere in the

Mark Mears (20:40): Books. Yeah, yeah. Thanks John. You can go to my website, which is markamears.com. And right there you'll see a link that you can create or your own or take your own self-assessment. Takes about five, six minutes and it does go through the four kind of segments of the book. And it's like providing a benchmark of where you are now as it relates to how you feel about purpose and, and also how aligned your organization is. And so that you can see if there are gaps, what needs to happen to fulfill them. And if you're a company, I've also put together a brand assessment where I can take what you're currently doing and see how aligned it is with what your team members are saying and then come in and help you close those gaps. So the assessment is really a great tool to begin the dialogue. Once you complete it, you can download a copy of your customized report and so you can buy the book, the Purposeful Growth Revolution: 4 Ways to Grow From Leader to Legacy Builder. It's available on Amazon in paperback hard cover and ebook as well as Barnes and Noble and probably other places books are sold. And then if you would love to connect with me, you could do that on LinkedIn. I would love to get to know you and talk further and build a relationship with you.

John Jantsch (22:04): Awesome. Well Mark, thanks so much for taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and uh, hopefully we'll run into you, uh, one of these days. Next time I'm in Kansas City or on the road somewhere.

Mark Mears (22:14): Excellent. So is it true you're gonna send me a role of duct tape as uh, kind of a

John Jantsch (22:19): No, we're fresh outta duct tape. It's funny though. Thank you. Over the years pe people have certainly sent me lots of different duct tape mementos. So again, thanks so much Mark and uh, appreciate you stopping by.

Mark Mears (22:30): My pleasure.

John Jantsch (22:31): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @marketingassessment.co, not.com. co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketing assessment.co. I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

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