Recipes for Organizational Success: A Zingerman’s Staffer Offers Perspective on Zingerman’s “Building a Great Business”

Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 3: Managing Ourselves will arrive this week! To get the party started, we thought we’d share another staffer insight from one of the other books in the series. David Marshall, of Zingerman’s Coffee Company barista fame, shared some thoughts on Part 1 with us.

How do you use what you’ve learned in your daily work?

I hope my co-workers would say that I use the Mission Statement in my daily work. It’s huge for me to know that I’m not just at work to sell coffee and coffee accessories. What I really deliver is an experience and being trusted to deliver a delightful and unique experience is much much more motivating and enjoyable than just selling things.

What was your favorite part of the book?

My favorite part of the book was, to my surprise, Secret #3: Creating Recipes for Organizational Success. After reading the chapter I decided to apply the steps for continuous improvement to my personal writing process. This was tough as I am not a naturally systematic person; I really like to have my freedom when it comes to achieving a goal. Sadly, this resistance to a systematic approach has at times cost me a lot of time and worry. Shortly after I’d begun the process I was thrilled to discover that writing was about to get a lot more fun. I had been wasting time and wasting energy with steps I didn’t need. Once I saw those steps down on paper I got to cross them out and now I no longer take them. The recipe I’ve made is good, my writing has improved, and the process is a lot more rewarding. It helps to have a good recipe.

What was the best piece of advice from the book?

I think the best bit of advice in the whole of the book is this: Write a vision of greatness. Writing a vision might be the most empowering thing that a person can do. It helps you take a look at where you want your year, business or day to end up. The process is exciting to do once, but I think the really exciting thing is to write a new vision once an old one has been thoroughly achieved. When people see that your visions get fulfilled and your missions lived, they get really excited about helping to create a new vision and to make it a reality.

Who do you think would enjoy reading this book?

I think community organizers in particular would enjoy this book. Really anyone who likes the idea of changing the world for the better would be delighted by the thing.

Who would benefit from reading this book?

Anyone with a desire to build someplace special should read this book. I’ve mostly worked for churches and non-profits between my jobs within the ZCoB so it occurs to me that the following persons would benefit greatly from this book: Pastors, Community Organizers, Librarians, Community Volunteers Chefs, Artists, Managers, Entrepreneurs and basically anybody who has a dream or who manages people.

Was there any action you took that was directly inspired from the book?

Sure. I take action very regularly as a result of reading this book. I make a point to regularly appreciate my co-workers in words and in writing when appropriate. I love that I get to make great coffee with great people, and to make sure my workplace stays awesome try to do my part to create and maintain a positive appreciative culture. I actually have a monthly alert labeled “Appreciate Co-Workers” in my Google Calendar in case I forget.