May 5, 2022

156 How to Activate Your Brand Purpose and Transform Your Organization by Harnessing the Power of Movements with Chip Walker | Partnering Leadership Global Thought Leader

156 How to Activate Your Brand Purpose and Transform Your Organization by Harnessing the Power of Movements with Chip Walker | Partnering Leadership Global Thought Leader

In this episode of Partnering Leadership, Mahan Tavakoli speaks with Chip Walker, head of Strategy at StrawberryFrog Movement, Brand Business and Cultural Strategist, and co-author of Activate Brand Purpose: How to Harness the Power of Movements to Transform Your Company. Chip Walker talks about brand purpose and its importance in guiding organizations. Chip Walker also shares actionable ideas on what leaders can do to activate brand purpose in their organizations.  
 

Some highlights:

- The difference between defining a purpose and activating a purpose
- Chip Walker on how to make purpose statements actionable
- Actions that leaders can take in activating movements within their organizations
- Movement thinking as a way to activate an organizational purpose. 
- Chip Walker on purpose in a hybrid work environment



Mentioned:

- Aaron Hurst (Listen to the Partnering Leadership conversation with Aaron Hurst)

- Ranjay Gulati (Listen to the Partnering Leadership conversation with Ranjay Gulati)

- Greg Satell (Listen to the Partnering Leadership conversation with Greg Satell)

- How Companies Can Balance Social Impact and Financial Goals by Marya Besharov, Wendy K. Smith, and Michael L. Tushman

 


Connect with Chip Walker:

Activate brand Purpose Book Website

Activate Brand Purpose on Amazon

Chip Walker Website

StrawberryFrog

Chip Walker on Twitter

Chip Walker on LinkedIn

Connect with Mahan Tavakoli:

https://mahantavakoli.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mahan/

More information and resources available at the Partnering Leadership Podcast website: 

https://www.partneringleadership.com/





Transcript

Introduction: 

Welcome to Partnering Leadership. I'm really excited this week to be welcoming Chip Walker. Chip who's the chief strategy officer C-suite advisor and thought leader at StrawberryFrog is a brand business and cultural strategist who has spent his career at some of Madison Avenue's legendary agencies. He's also the co-author of Activate Brand Purpose: How to Harness the Power of Movements to Transform Your Company

I really enjoyed this conversation because having a brand purpose is important. However, it's not enough. It's knowing how we can align our organizations and how we can activate that brand purpose, which is what Chip covers in his book and we spent some time discussing in this conversation. I'm sure you will both enjoy the conversation and get some ideas on how you can activate brand purpose at your organization. 

I also enjoy hearing from you. Keep your comments coming. mahan@mahantavakoli.com

There's a microphone icon on partnering leadership.com. Really enjoy getting those voice messages. Don't forget to follow the podcast. Tuesday conversations with magnificent changemakers from the greater Washington DC region and Thursday conversations with brilliant global thought leaders such as Chip. 

Now here's my conversation with Chip Walker.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Chip Walker, Welcome to Partnering Leadership. I'm thrilled to have you in this conversation with me,

Chip Walker: 

Thanks so much. It's great to be here today.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Love the book, Activate Brand Purpose: How to Harness the Power of Movements to Transform Your Company. And your insights on how organizations can become truly purpose driven and have their brand aligned with that purpose.

But before we get to that conversation, would love to know whereabouts you grew up and how your upbringing impacted who you've become, Chip.

Chip Walker: 

I'm originally from the deep south, from Birmingham, Alabama. Both of my parents have passed away so I can get away with this now, in that I didn't grow up in the trailer park, but I grew up near the trailer park. If that gives you any sense of my socioeconomic upbringing. But I went to school in Tennessee at Vanderbilt and ended up, I dunno, I got an internship over a summer at an ad agency in Nashville, and I really, really liked it.

After from Vanderbilt, I went to New York and went to see if I could find another job in advertising, which I did. I've been working in some form of either marketing, branding, that whole world, ever since then.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Chip, do you recall a point in time where for you purpose became an important part of what a brand should represent?

Chip Walker: 

Yeah, I'd say, we've all known that having a north star, that's something bigger than just making money. I think for years, for decades, people have known that that's important. But I think where it became not just something that's important, but maybe in some ways the most important thing, I think that kind of thinking has really only come to the four or maybe in the past 10 years or so.

Yeah, I think, we went through the whole era where we were thinking about brands as emotional relationship partners. Then I think in the 2010s people like Douglas Holtz were talking about brands as cultural icons and like, cult players and culture. But I think more recently, I think, Simon Sinek wrote that famous book about asking why. It wasn't just specifically about branding. It was, I think about business in general, but I think upon reading books like that, and then starting to just listen to what I was hearing from my clients as to what some of the issues were that they were dealing with, it made me start to realize that I think this notion of purpose might even supersede the notion of brand as something that's really important.

Reason being, brand is an important idea, but a lot of times it can lead you to things that are about attributes or image or advertising, all of which are important. But when you start laddering it up to purpose, it starts to take you to larger issues around the direction of the organization. Around why would somebody want to get up and come to work at a place like this every day. How do we get everybody singing from the same choir book in terms of where we're headed and going in the future? Why would the community think that our company is a valuable partner to have here? 

Those are obviously bigger questions that while they encompass things that are related to brand, they're bigger than brand, a lot of the issues around purpose. I think as I started to see that in the past five, seven years, come to the fore in terms of issues, clients were interested in, it became clear to me that's what we needed to focus on.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

That's one of the reasons, your message and your book resonated with me, Chip, in that this is not the purpose for the sake of marketing. It is a purpose as the core of the organization and core of that brand. 

One of the frustrations that I hear from a lot of people is the purpose washing, or the fact that you have, whether it's the Facebooks of the world or the, we works of the world, have this glamorous purpose statements that they use as almost a cloak to do whatever they want to do. And then point at that purpose that has very little connection to the reality of the organization. 

When you talk about purpose, how was that purpose different from all the many purpose statements that we can go on every single company website at this point? I'm sure we can find a page if not on their front page, their very glamorous, purpose statement.

Chip Walker: 

Right. Scott and I are at StrawberryFrog, our agency, we've worked with a ton of leaders in some of the top companies. And you're right, purpose washing is a big issue and a thing that a lot of the public complaints about. And I'll tell you, I don't think I've ever met a leadership team who came to us and said, Hey, we want to put up a smoke screen to fool people. So can you come up with a purpose statement so we can then go do whatever we want? I don't think it's like that. If they feel that way, they're certainly not saying it. And, I feel like the leaders I deal with are usually very sincere when they want to approach purpose. 

And the reason we wrote our book. The topic of our book, Activate Brand Purpose was that what we understood really quickly after dealing with a few clients in this situation was that they just didn't know how to activate it. You've got this beautiful purpose statement and a lot of times there's a lot of frustration in the C-suite because that's all it is. 

The reason that we wrote Activate Brand Purpose, as opposed to say just a book that was about defining purpose of which there are many, was that actually knowing what to do with even a great purpose statement seemed to be something that was an outage. A lot of people were asking us for it. What do we do?

The other  lucky thing that had happened is that, Scott and I had been working together at our agency. Our agency is called StrawberryFrog. Our philosophy has always been about this concept, we call them cultural movements. And it was about this notion of using the thinking behind successful societal movements like Black Lives Matter or the Women's Movement, or Me Too, using the principles behind those to understand what it is that galvanizes and motivates people to want to join in with an enterprise or a company or a brand to make a change in the world or in life. And we'd had a lot of luck with that philosophy. And I think the thing that we realized was that this movement thinking idea was a great way to reframe a company's purpose in a way that was really easy to know what to do with the purpose. And I can give you an example, maybe if that would help. 

I'll take an example from a mundane category, let's take banking. We worked for a number of years with a bank called SunTrust. SunTrust had developed a purpose called “Lighting the way to financial well-being”, which sounds great. They loved it. It made them feel good. But they were having employee motivation problems. They were having employee engagement issues. Employees thought it sounded good, but they didn't know what to do. And it was just, it was one of those things where the purpose was up there on a plaque, but everyone was scratching their head to say, now what? This happened a year or two into that process when we first started working with them. We said, well, let us apply this notion of movement thinking and see if we can make your purpose, maybe seem more actionable.

And when we looked around, this is probably 2015, 2016, we looked around in culture and what was obvious at that point was despite the financial crisis, having been over for several years, supposedly over, the majority of Americans had not recovered yet. A lot of SunTrust customers certainly haven't and even a lot of their employees have not participated in the recovery. And they were under a lot of financial stress. And financial stress just being kind of epidemic in proportion. We took this notion of a movement for SunTrust that was against this widespread financial stress that people were feeling and leading a movement to help promote financial confidence for all Americans, regardless of your socioeconomic status.

That's certainly a way to think about lighting the way to financial well-being, but all of a sudden, if you're a teller and you're getting up to go to work every day, you think, why am I going to work every day? I'm going to help people get out of that financial stress and help them be more financially confident.

And there are things the banks make and do, there's products and services that do that. All of a sudden it became a way to take a purpose that is inspiring and lofty sounding, but put it in terms that was a lot easier to know what to do with. 

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Appreciate that example because it's an inside out movement with respect to the way purpose is presented. Though it's not purpose in terms of how the consumers view SunTrust in that example, it's people within the organization buying into the movement.

Chip Walker: 

Correct. I mean, for us, that is a huge starting point. A good chunk of our business now doing purpose activation inside of companies. So historically we were a marketing agency that did a lot of external campaigns. I mean, we made ads, digital experiences, all kinds of things for customers and prospects these days. A lot of our work is starting on the inside to get employees engaged first and foremost.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

To a great extent, there is organizational alignment that goes into that. There are a lot of contributions getting everyone aligned. You mentioned Chip, the movement aspect of this. I also had a conversation with Greg Satell and I know you spoke to him too on how to create movements that create transformational change.Though what I'm hearing from you is that purpose, that in many respects, that initial purpose statement is vague can be used as a way to bring people together in a movement as the movements and outside society effectively work.

Chip Walker: 

Cause, people can't join a purpose, but they can join a movement that's inspired by the purpose. One of the ways that we think about it is it's really just purpose, activated. A group of people, rallying together around a shared purpose in order to achieve some kind of a change. But that purpose is the thing that they all believe in and the movement is how they're going to go about making the change happen.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Which is also why then you make the point that purpose needs to be aligned with the core business you're in. You gave a couple of great examples. Actually, I love NUTrition because my undergrad and I did some research in graduate school in human nutrition, I believe in the value of nuts, but I was thrown off by their purpose, which could have been aligned with better health, but it wasn't.

Chip Walker: 

No, that's correct. I'm surprised I've not gotten letters from them or emails or something because I've used this example. And again, I don't think that they had any bad intention whatsoever. It was just kind of a humorous example because they had this big campaign, where they were announcing that nutrition was going to live this purpose of women's pay equality. And they had a big TV campaign where they were showing that dramatizing in a humorous way that women were paid too little. And I saw it in an interview in a magazine they were being interviewed like, why is this an appropriate for you as a nut brand called nutrition? The spokesman said, because paying women unfairly is nuts. I just thought, well, there's an answer for it. 

We'd all say of course women should be paid equally and I'm sure they have every good intention as I said. We find that if you genuinely want to activate your purpose in a believable and authentic way for a long term, that your purpose has to happen at the intersection of how you would want the world to be, and the way that your business adds value in the world.

With the SunTrust example, it was this whole realm of helping people have more financial confidence. This was very clearly related to their core business, which, they're a banking and financial services institution. That's obviously a lot clearer than that they've decided that they wanted to support pay inequality.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

It is really important point though, Chip because the organizational purpose is not a CSR initiative. One of the things is that you can spend money and support different activities in the community. As you said with Nutritions example, it's a great product. I love the brand. They can spend money on promoting women's equality, but that is not aligned in the minds of the consumers with the purpose of the brand.

Again, if it was focused on health, which nuts are very good for, especially the Nutrition brand. There would be a flow on that. So in thinking through this process, you mentioned that for the organizational purpose, for there to be a grievance that you want to address, helps galvanize people around that movement around purpose.

Chip Walker: 

We've coined this term we call movement thinking. If you've heard of design thinking before, which kind of has its own tenants, we've coined this idea of movement thinking, but it borrows, as I said, from some of the theories behind how successful societal movements work. 

And one of the things that we know, I mean, it's documented from the people who study these things in the world of social movements is that all movements start with a grievance. There's something that a group of people have decided that they are dissatisfied with. Whether it's that women don't have equal rights or gay people can't get married or there's misunderstood amount of violence against African-Americans by the police. It starts with dissatisfaction. And along with that, change that this group of people wants to see in the world. They have a vision of a world where that grievance has gone away. And towards that end, there's usually an enemy that the movement has and a stand that the movement has to overcome the enemy and get to the desired change. 

And that's really kind of the way movement thinking works. We usually sum it up that a movement, there's come out of “for” and the “against”. SunTrust is for financial confidence and against financial stress. To kind of get there, we often think first and foremost, what is the grievance and what is the change they want to see? 

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Therefore having that understanding of the grievance can clarify that movement more in the minds of the employees, team members, everyone in the organization. 

And you talk about four elements of movement thinking. As leaders are thinking about this movement within their organizations, how should they go about activating the movement?

Chip Walker: 

First and foremost, I mean, people have to know what the company's purpose is and what the movement is, the company that leadership intends to see the movement activated with. 

There's a great article if you're interested in purpose and the kind of purpose that it's a scenario, but the article is called the purpose that has a financial impact. It's from the Harvard business review. In 2019, a couple of academics, one from Wharton and one from Harvard business school, but they did a database analysis of companies where they claim to be purpose-driven. They did an analysis inside the company based on employee surveys and a lot of data about the company's financials.

The purpose has much to do with their financial success. They discovered there were two different kinds of companies. One thing that they call it, purpose camaraderie companies, where there was a purpose, but it was just a, feel-good slogan. They had other companies where the purpose had been activated, not simply from leadership, not simply on the front lines, but importantly, middle management was actively engaged and understood and got and acted on the purpose. Top down, bottom up, middle out folks understood it. Seemed to feel like they knew what to do with it. 

I'd say first and foremost, you've got to know about it and it's got to be something that is explained and socialized in a way that people understand it well. We just find that if we can do that through both communication, through training, through experiences in the company, that usually goes a very, very long way. 

There are folks like Greg Satell, who you mentioned, he's almost got down to a science of how things like networks work within organizations and it's fascinating. If you want more of a master's degree level explanation. I think Greg's book is great, but anyway, that's kind of usually the way that we approach it.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Greg does an outstanding job with it. And we'll link in the show notes, both to the article you mentioned. And the conversation I had with Greg, his book Cascades is outstanding. And I consistently recommended it. 

Chip, I work with a lot of senior leadership teams coaching them. And in many instances, there is a frustration in their minds that they are very clear on the organizational purpose. However, that purpose has not been incorporated into and embraced by everyone in the organization. The further you are from the senior leadership team, the less connection there is with purpose. What have you seen as best practices and or best examples of purpose being embraced as that movement by everyone in the organization, rather than just either the C-suite or part of the organization that is connected to this C-suite.

Chip Walker: 

The first big barrier that seems to stand in the way of the purpose, getting activated outside of the C-suite. C-suites dealing with much bigger picture issues. But when you're actually in upper middle or middle management, or just a rank and file frontline employee doing your job every day, the big issue is hearing the purpose, thinking it sounds good, but not being able to make a connection between that and what it is I get up and do when I go to work every day. Projects I'm working on. The key is for us, we use movement thinking and we reframe the purpose in a way that it connects to people's jobs and their lives and business. 

So SunTrust is an example of that. I can give you other examples. We are working in a healthcare with a company, it's not too far from you. I don't know if you've heard of it. LifeBridge health, it's in greater Baltimore. So they run like many large hospital systems. They were built on acquisitions. There were many different hospital groups that they have, some of them less affluent, urban areas, some in much more affluent areas. So just a wide range of organizations. 

They had developed a very lofty purpose that I won't quote it right now. But it’s the kind of purpose you might've expected from a health system. We developed this movement for them based on observing the way that some of their most dedicated and some of their happiest employees felt about doing their job. The movement idea is called Care Bravely. And it's about the willingness to go above and beyond to help take care of somebody. And I think this ended up really striking a nerve, not just with the frontline workers, the doctors and the nurses, but even people who were in accounting for like, why do I work at a hospital system instead of a law office. Well, how do I do my job differently even if I'm not on the front line. It’s what our DNA really is about. And the thing that we're trying to encourage in the world is this notion of caring bravely. And so you can imagine as that pandemic hit, this idea just became more and more and more important for them as an organization.

 And I think what it's done is been able to take folks from disparate hospital systems, some richer, some poor, some in the suburbs, some urban and give them a common cause that they're fighting for together in terms of how they do their job every day. So that's just another example. 

Mahan Tavakoli: 

That is a great example because I also had a conversation with Aaron Hurst who had written the book Purpose Economy and has been doing a lot of research through his company on organizational purpose. And one of the things that Aaron says is that we assume people in healthcare are more purpose driven or connected to the organization's purpose. A lot of times, that's not the case. 

Chip Walker:

Yeah, they may not be. 

Mahan Tavakoli: 

A healthcare organization also needs to have that movement thinking around purpose and getting people aligned, not just assuming, because the role is even for the doctors or nurses, interacting with patients in health care, it gives them purpose. That's not necessarily the case. 

Chip Walker: 

Right. Exactly. 

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Chip, one of the challenges, sometimes I hear with people with respect to purposes that they see organizations, whether it's the Patagonia's of the world or organizations that are known for taking a very strong stand on purpose. Some of the CEOs I interact with and senior leadership teams say, that's not us.We can't do that. We have boards of directors, or we have shareholders. How can they balance and think about purpose as opposed to some of the examples that are used repeatedly of these high purpose driven organizations.

Chip Walker: 

Well, it's interesting, with StrawberryFrog. We did a big research study in 2019 of the US general public, where we worked with a company called the Reputation Institute. So they're a very august research organization. They're now called rep tracks. They're a very great research company who helped us do a study around five or 6,000 of the general public.

And we looked at over 200 companies and brands across I think, 15 different industries and to see which ones did the public actually think were purpose driven. We ended up developing an algorithm of four questions that help determine companies that are driven by purpose, more than making money.

And the reason I'm bringing this up towards the end of 2019, right before the pandemic. And then we did it in January of 2021 kind of as the pandemic was in full swing. The reason I'm bringing it up is that what we found in 2019 was that the companies that rose to the top of the list tended to be those smaller purpose darlings, if you will, the Patagonias of the world method, seventh generation, a couple of bigger companies like USAA, it's a large bank, but it's really geared towards the military population.

These were all companies that you might kind of view as specialists in some ways that deal more, lived in more of a social good realm. A lot of the brands that rose to the top fit that bill. What was really interesting by 2021, we saw that that had changed rather dramatically. That there were a lot of regular companies, the public, I think, awareness of what it means to be a purpose-driven company seemed to have gotten a lot broader.

And I think that has to do with people like Elon Musk coming along and popularizing the notion of purpose. And also just by things that happened during the pandemic, when you started to realize that ups has a greater purpose than I thought it did before in terms of delivering things. So does Kimberly Clark, which makes toilet paper. So does Clorox, which gets rid of germs. So all of a sudden we started seeing these much more everyday companies being recognized as having a value in the world that is beyond making money.

 And to answer your question. I feel like it's shifted. It used to be that purpose, I think, felt a few years ago. Like if you're not willing to take a stand, like Patagonia, why are you in the game? And I think now consumer ideas have broadened about what qualifies a purpose and it's open to a lot more companies.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

That's why it's really important for all of us to think about it and reflect on it. That we are willing to join movements. We're willing to go out into the streets. We are willing to sign petitions and do things because we are part of a movement and we believe in something. We aren't doing those things because we're getting paid for it and organizations that are frustrated with some of the turnover some of the Exodus of people looking for more meaning in their jobs can think about this brand purpose as something that can motivate their teams to be part of the organization and wants to be there, wants to contribute, not just showing up whether virtually or in person or hybrid, just for the paycheck.

Chip Walker: 

Yeah, absolutely. One of our big clients is Walmart at StrawberryFrog. We do a lot of internal work for them. And listen I know Walmart has had a lot of criticism over the years for employee treatment. I'm here to tell you, I know they make a big effort, but it's, a big employee base of 2 million people, but it's just to me, a great example of I've been out in the field, talking with their employees all over the country and how many people down to a truck driver when you ask them what they do they say that I help people save money so they can live better. It just shows you that even in kind of a mass retail job purpose can give a job a lot more meaning.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

It can at all levels. And to your point Chip, I was speaking to professor Ranjay Gulati of Harvard business school. He's written a book called The Purpose, and he puts it beautifully, talks about messy, middle of trying to balance purpose. in that whether it's Walmart or other organizations there isn't one extreme, prioritizing purpose is messy. And you have to make decisions around that. It's a work in progress like a growth mindset. We are not there yet, we have to work on it. There is no ideal organization that has achieved purpose. It's on the way to achieving that purpose.

Chip Walker: 

Completely agree with that. It's one of the reasons I know, even when people point fingers at brands like Nutrition, who aren't getting it right. I kind of, in some ways hate doing that because I feel like everybody's on the journey somewhere and I'd like to see people, at least making an effort, even if you're not getting it quite right yet.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

That's a great point for all of us to keep in mind. We are all work in progress with respect to this. You also mentioned the power of purpose Chip, whether it is with respect to collaboration in the organization or getting teams to be aligned. And I want to frame that question with respect to this future of work we're going into. Certain levels of hybrid work for most organizations, some have been virtual organizations and will stay virtual. Some have been in-person and will stay that way. And some CEOs will choose to bring their people back in person. But most that have the ability are planning on being operating in a hybrid environment.

What are your thoughts and perspectives with respect to activating that purpose? And how it will play into this future hybrid work?

Chip Walker: 

It's interesting because we'd started doing more work that wasn't directed outside at the general public and started doing more work that was often geared towards employees. And I think what we've seen is that the demand for that kind of work seems to have gone up a lot as we've moved to a hybrid mode. It's really alerted top leaders to the fact that there were employee motivation problems before. I think the concern is that in a hybrid environment, they're just going to get exacerbated that much more and it's that much more difficult and people are dealing with that much more fatigue. All the issues that we've been talking around in purpose and movement, they just take on a heightened emphasis when you're in this hybrid environment. 

The good news is that I think in some ways that's a good thing because when we were all together, it was easy to take for granted that people would just come along for the ride. But when you're in a distributed and semi hybrid virtual world, you can't take it for granted that everyone's coming along for the ride. You have to make efforts, do programs, make some investment to make sure that happens. In some ways I think it's actually kind of a good thing. 

Mahan Tavakoli: 

It gets us to really think about what it takes to keep people aligned, keep people motivated. We can't just go back to the way things were. And in many respects Chip, part of what I keep saying on the podcast and repeat to my clients is that the ways we were working weren't in many instances, the right ways to collaborate and work with each other.

Anyway, this is a good opportunity for most organizations to rethink and reinvent that future of work aligned based on ideas, you've shared activating that purpose.

 So for leaders that are listening to this Chip, if you had one thought of what they should get started on to activate that purpose. In most instances, they have an organizational purpose. What is an assignment? What is something to do? Something to reflect on that will help move them forward. Understanding that different organizations and leaders are at different stages. What do you think is one of the most critical things for them to consider?

Chip Walker: 

First and foremost, if you have an organizational purpose and you're wondering about activating it, I think the first thing that you gotta do is to be super, super honest with yourself and ask yourself, does the purpose, as it stands right now, is it in a state that is readily activated by your audiences?

 I would go so far in many instances, we actually go out and ask and get some feedback on the purpose itself, certainly within the organization, but sometimes from our other publics too, to learn that. And, as I've been saying, I think often you'll find that there's an aspect that it's not really about liking it.

Do you like it or you do not like it, or do you believe it or not. Can you imagine how you would either do your job differently or how this company would provide value for you differently based on hearing what this purpose is. 

So UPS’ purpose is a kind of redid, it's moving the world forward by delivering what matters. That's a purpose. I mean, you have a pretty good idea what to do when you hear that. Would we love to create a movement for them? Yes, but I mean, even just with their purpose statement, they're on the way. But then you hear other ones, I don't have to give you example. You've heard them before, are a lot vaguer starts to make you realize that if you're working with that statement alone, you may be a long way from activation and have a lot of frustration from people.

 I think getting clear on that really fast, and if you don't feel like your purpose statement as is, is actionable, you're going to need to put it through another lens that's going to make it so that people say, I know what to do with this. As I said, we think movement is that idea. It certainly is. It's not the only way, but we think it's one of the best.

Mahan Tavakoli:

 I love that UPS example Chip, because as you we're saying it. I could visualize myself almost in any role at UPS connecting my role with that purpose and therefore being part of the movement, whether I am in the back office, doing accounting support, or I'm a delivery person, or I'm helping sorting on the machines, whatever it is, I can visualize being part of that movement.

Chip Walker: 

Exactly. That's what you want to get to. I mean, listen, the truth is a lot of times when purposes get developed there at an offsite or a board of directors meeting, and they're just not thinking about this stuff that much when they develop them. So sometimes you have to come in later and do a little engineering to get it into a state where people know what to do with it. 

Mahan Tavakoli: 

In order to do that, I would recommend for people to read, Activate Brand Purpose, and ask themselves whether this is a purpose that can be embraced by people all throughout the organization and have them become part of this movement.

Chip, in addition to your book, are there any other leadership practices or resources you would recommend for people as they are thinking about activating that purpose within the organizations?

Chip Walker: 

I just read a book that I really enjoyed a lot. It's called the Long Game. It's by a woman named Dorie Clark. I don't know if you know Dory. Dory's a friend of mine. Most business and leadership books usually key off some outrageous or counterintuitive idea. I stopped doing X, Y, or Z, or, it's going to blow up or something like that.

 And I was very interested. Dorie's book was really about the power of long-term thinking. And I was like, well, I wonder if this is, we kind of know that's important, but she really makes the case in very, very concrete and practical terms Why one of the biggest issues about things is that we just give up too soon.

 I just found that it was like, so practical, you could act on it, you knew what to do with it. I could see it applying to people at any kind of level. And I've certainly found that when I stopped and thought about it, like, you know, you're right. It took me like 10 years to get something done, but I've never stopped to think that was really what it was.

Mahan Tavakoli: 

Well, I really appreciate that Chip and most especially appreciate both your book, Activate Brand Purpose: How to Harness the Power of Movements to Transform Your Company. And the examples you share that movements more accessible to leaders of organizations with respect to what they can specifically do.

One of the frustrations that I hear about purpose is that coming up with a purpose statement is easy. The hard part is getting people in the organization, excited and motivated by that purpose. Some of the ideas you've shared and your book help aligned organization and get people in that movement to bring purpose to reality.

I really appreciate you joining me in this partnering leadership conversation. Chip. Thank you so much.

Chip Walker: 

Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoy talking with you about all this.