Episode 9 // Interview with Adam Goodman, CEO of Goodmans Interior Structures

Oct 12, 2017

Leading ChangeAdam Goodman - CEO of Goodmans Interior Structures

Summary: Mike and Chris interview Adam Goodman (CEO of Goodmans Interior Structures) who talks about the tough decisions involved in leading change in his company. Find out what he thinks is needed in Arizona to push change and why he mails handwritten letters to employees.

Contact Adam Goodman at www.goodmans.com

Contact the co-hosts: Chris Stadler at chris@chrisstadler.com and Mike Jones at resoundcreative.com

Discuss at https://www.facebook.com/azbrandcast/

Recorded at the impeccable offices of Goodmans Interior Structures.

Show Transcript

Mike Jones: Who would you rather fight, Mother Theresa or …

Chris Stadler: This is so terrible.

Mike Jones: But it’s, like … Mother Theresa, or Gandhi.

Chris Stadler: Ooh, I mean … I’d have to, like-

Mike Jones: Or you could do the Dalai Lama. We’ll give you a three-way choice.

Chris Stadler: Who would you rather fight? [inaudible 00:00:23]

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: It’d be a little more, like [inaudible 00:00:26]

Mike Jones: Fighting them physically? Mother Theresa [crosstalk 00:00:29]

Adam Goodman: Or he might …

Mike Jones: [inaudible 00:00:32]. He got great [inaudible 00:00:37].

Chris Stadler: Thank you very much.

Mike Jones: Thank you.

Chris Stadler: Thank you for [inaudible 00:00:43] Chris and I are not quite there yet.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Almost.

Adam Goodman: [inaudible 00:00:48] mates, partners, friends?

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, I have to explain that to my wife.

Adam Goodman: Yeah … Alright.

Mike Jones: Cool. We’ll do a little intro, and then we’ll [crosstalk 00:00:57].
Alright, this is Mike and Chris from AZ Brandcast.

Chris Stadler: What’s up everybody?

Mike Jones: Another episode here. We’ve got Adam Goodman from Goodman’s Interior Structures.

Chris Stadler: Say Hi.

Adam Goodman: That’s me.

Mike Jones: We’re gonna do a little intro in a couple minutes here. First, we’ve gotta ask a really important question for all three of us to answer and that is, if you were in a fist fight and you got to pick from two different people and you have to fight them, would you pick the Dalai Lama or Gandhi and why? [crosstalk 00:01:34]

Adam Goodman: There’s so many ramifications to this question. [crosstalk 00:01:39]

Mike Jones: Should you go last? We’ll have you go last to give you a little time. Okay do you know your answer?

Adam Goodman: I think I know my answer. So, I’m gonna go with Gandhi. I have a feeling he would just take all the punches. I think from what little I know about him and the Dalai Lama in totality, that the Dalai Lama would be slightly less inclined to take my punches.

Chris Stadler: What do you mean take your punches?

Adam Goodman: Like I think he’d try to punch back.

Chris Stadler: Oh, gotcha.

Adam Goodman: I think Gandhi would stick to his principles because he’s all about non-violent protest.

Chris Stadler: Yep. Okay. [crosstalk 00:02:28] I have to respect that. So, mine would be probably Gandhi even though I like him better than the Dalai Lama. But he just has that nose. [crosstalk 00:02:42] It’d kind of be fun to-

Mike Jones: Oh, that’s terrible. I don’t want to fight either one of them.

Chris Stadler: But Gandhi is like, did something where the Dalai Lama I’m not sure, I’m sure he’s inspired a lot of people you know, god he did something man. He got it going.

Mike Jones: I feel like you’re going on about the Bond again.

Chris Stadler: I was reading enough to say, yes I guess it is brand. It’s action.

Mike Jones: It is an action.

Chris Stadler: But the Dalai Lama, he’s more action.

Mike Jones: He makes everybody feel really good about themselves, you know.

Chris Stadler: He has yet to free his people.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Someone out there right now is just wanting to punch me in the face.

Mike Jones: How dare you? [crosstalk 00:03:39]

Adam Goodman: It’s not such a tough choice for me. It’s interesting you guys are struggling with it. It’s the Dalai Lama for sure. Because that mother- owes me a hundred bucks. [crosstalk 00:03:53]

Mike Jones: That’s why it’s hard for us. He doesn’t owe us a hundred dollars.

Adam Goodman: I get your ambivalence about the whole thing, but if I do see him [crosstalk 00:04:04] Gandhi’s never done anything to me.

Chris Stadler: If we could get the Dalai Lama on AZ Brandcast, yeah? Talk about branding? [crosstalk 00:04:14]

Mike Jones: Yeah, the Dalai Lama. I guess I’m not fighting the Dalai Lama, so, it would be you who would have to tell him as he’s on the ground. I know this is a bad time probably, but [crosstalk 00:04:25] this is for Adam.

Chris Stadler: That’s a good discussion. Now we know where we all stand.

Mike Jones: We would love to hear a little bit about Goodman’s and maybe give us a little bit of the back story. In particular, how you’ve created this really unique purpose for your organization and how that came to be. The process that you’ve got through in refining that.

Adam Goodman: Okay, you asked, I’ll tell you. [crosstalk 00:04:57] So, thanks for having me here, first of all. It’s lovely. Your studio is lovely. [crosstalk 00:05:04]

Mike Jones: It’s an intense layout. You’re right.

Adam Goodman: Oh my gosh, you’re right. [crosstalk 00:05:11] So we’re a 64 year old, third generation family business. Office furniture business started by my Grand Daddy in 1954. We grew up with Arizona. As Arizona exploded, we exploded right along with it. My father built the business and my grandfather. He took the business over and built it with some really exceptionally talented people. Very smart, very bright, very talented people. As I came into leadership in the early 2000’s, I became acutely aware that I needed to attract some exceptional talent, because the exceptional talent that he attracted is going to be leaving the workforce soon. So I really started to think a lot at that point in my career about it.
It was right around that time, early 2000’s that the CEO of Hern Miller, I was at a cocktail party and we had the most casual conversation you can imagine and what he said to me, “The most important role of the CEO is to provide a sense of purpose to his employees. Something beyond themselves.” A sense of purpose is something beyond themselves. And I found that really impactful because I didn’t know what it meant. It didn’t make any sense to me at all. What possible sense of purpose could there be in selling file cabinets? So I chewed on that for a while. It was around the same time that I set out on a little journey to interview all of our employees and many of our customers. I asked each of them one question and that question is, to our employees, why do you work at Goodman’s?
I let them just riff on whatever they were thinking. Then I asked our customers, why do you do business with Goodman’s? Again, just that one question. I kept track of all these answers on yellow legal pads and filled them up and filled them up and filled them up. Didn’t even know what to do. I wasn’t filtering anything, I wasn’t cognitively processing anything, I was just letting it wash all over me. I happened to have a long cross country plane fight one day and I pulled them out and I read through all of them and what those all said to me, what I heard from our customers was that the reason that they liked doing business with Goodman’s is because what they do, the things they do, it helped them to do them better.
For example, the hospitals, they talked about how the work we do helps patients to heal better because we’re providing safe environments for the care givers and more comfortable environments for the patients and more comfortable environments for the families. When you add all that up, that’s gonna make the patient heal quicker. That’s a real big deal. You talk to governments who said, “The work you’re doing to help us use our existing furniture, to reuse it and not have to buy new furniture, that is lowering the cost of government for tax payers. That’s a really significant thing. That’ really interesting.
Then we talked to our education customers who said “What you’re doing is making a direct impact on how students are learning in the classroom. We’ve actually proven with empirical data that the work you’re doing is making the learning process better. Wow.
Then the corporations, the private companies are telling us that the things that we are doing for them are helping them to be more competitive, to attract and retain better talent, to be more collaborative, or to be more creative or whatever their objective might happen to be. So you add all that up and go that’s really interesting that the impact we’re able to have.
I looked at what the employees said and the employees talked about or philanthropic spirit and the things that we can do for others and how important that is to them. I kind of milled it all up together and realized that the work we’re doing here at Goodman’s is changing the community it’s making a difference in the community. It’s improving things. And I started to reflect on that, as that’s something I can get out of bed for. That’s something that means something to me that gets me excited to come to work.
I had been in the newspaper business before this. I had always wanted to be a newspaper publisher. Have you ever heard anybody say that sentence before? [crosstalk 00:09:21] Coming out of my mouth it sounded ridiculous. I always wanted to be a newspaper publisher. So I went to work for Gannett newspapers. I was going around the country on kind of a fast track program to be a newspaper publisher. God wiling, after ten years I would have been the Valdasta, Georgia, publisher or something like that. My father brought me back in the business. What I realized when I was in the office furniture business was, I missed that sense of purpose I had when I was in newspapers. Newspapers inform the citizenry. They’re an important part of democracy. They make change in the community. I didn’t have that by selling cubicles and vertical files.
So now, suddenly now as I reframed the whole purpose of the company now I’ve got something that gets me excited and its employees excited.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome. That’s a great story.

Adam Goodman: Thanks.

Mike Jones: Thankfully it’s true.

Adam Goodman: It’s all true. [crosstalk 00:10:16]

Chris Stadler: So you talked to employees. Why on Earth would you talk to employees? You pay them, they do what you say, end of story, right?

Adam Goodman: Yeah, you’d think so, wouldn’t ya? [crosstalk 00:10:26] Well again, back to the idea that I’ve got to attract talent. I need to understand what it is that compels people to want to work here. It wasn’t our dental plan. We have an excellent dental plan, by the way, but it’s diminishing returns. We keep trying to chase compensation and benefits and these kinds of things. We provide great benefits and compensation don’t get me wrong, but it has to be something bigger. Going back to what that CEO from Hern Miller, Brian Walker, said, give employees a sense of purpose about something beyond themselves. So I wanted to know what it was they cared about and where that came from.

Mike Jones: It really made send to talk to them.

Chris Stadler: What kind of resistance did you face? What kind of unanticipated or maybe anticipated problems did you, obstacles did you-

Adam Goodman: Right away, I landed. Back to the airplane flight. I landed and the next day at work I faced no obstacles. Frictionless. Completely frictionless to be able to do this whole thing. Even the first year, I had no obstacles. Mostly ’cause I didn’t tell anybody about it for a while. [crosstalk 00:11:37] I kept I quiet ’cause I was ashamed maybe? Embarrassed? That this was so grandiose. It was such a big, it felt like too ambitious for goodness sake. You’re an office furniture store. Get back in your corner and just be an office furniture…who do you think you are trying to change the world?

Chris Stadler: Right. Yeah.

Adam Goodman: That’s for the tech companies. [crosstalk 00:11:58] They’re changing the world you’re just selling conference tables.

Chris Stadler: How about virtual furniture?[crosstalk 00:12:01]

Adam Goodman: Right. So that whole year I didn’t tell anybody about it. It just sort of percolated in the back of my head. I showed our marketing director one day. Just “Hey, check this out.” And she just went crazy. I think about this sometimes. [crosstalk 00:12:26]

Chris Stadler: Wait, how did she go crazy? Good or bad?

Adam Goodman: Good! Good! “This is us. This is who we are. Oh my god you’ve captured it. This is fantastic. Show it to everybody.” Had she been a degree or two less enthusiastic, I probably never would have seen the light of day. I just wouldn’t have had the self-confidence frankly, to share it with anybody else. She could have killed this so easily, but she didn’t. She absolutely embraced it. “You’ve got to get in front of everybody. You’ve got to talk about this.” So, I honestly would not have done it without the encouragement.
So we set up a big meeting. For me this is, by the way if you’re trying to take lessons from this, this is not the best way to do it. [crosstalk 00:13:06] We went to a Mexican restaurant ’cause it can fit everybody in there and we had a big breakfast meeting where everyone was seated auditorium style with their breakfast burritos looking at me and I go to talk about the purpose and the process and how we got here. I read our new purpose statement about changing the community. You know how when you speak to a room, you can read the room and get something back from what’s going on? It was [inaudible 00:13:38] they were waiting for the English portion of the program to begin. They had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. It was so flat and I got nothing back from them.

Mike Jones: Wow.

Adam Goodman: It was really unfulfilling. I noticed in the back of the room, I noticed that there was two people passing notes back and forth as I was talking. So I thought, that note has the key to what they group is feeling. I’m gonna find that note afterwards. So as everybody cleans up their burritos and the chairs go up and everybody leaves, and I go back to where they were sitting and I found the note on the ground. Sure enough that note told me everything I need to know. So, any other questions? [crosstalk 00:14:16]

Chris Stadler: You are a newspaper man. You know exactly when to stop.

Adam Goodman: And we’ll be back after these messages, this commercial break. [crosstalk 00:14:29] So, the note says, and I have it still to this day, the note says, “I wish I had worn my boots today because the b.s. is so deep in here.” [crosstalk 00:14:43] That was crushing. Talk about obstacles, right?

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Adam Goodman: Now think about this, I’m in my 20s or late 20s probably, these are people who have worked at the company longer than I’ve been alive. They had seen me grow up. They had put me through college, really, honestly, that’s the relationship and here I was declaring this big ambitious purpose that was so far beyond anything we were talking about at the time. So I had a choice to make after that. Do I double down on this or do I just pretend this never happened? [crosstalk 00:15:26]
I doubled down and decided that it was gonna take just constant relentless repetition and effort and I also understood instinctively I think that I needed to be very good about drawing a line for people about the job that you do here at Goodman’s as our accounts receivable clerk and the impact you’re making on the community. The job you do as a warehouse receiver, dock person, and how it impacts the community. I had to be really deliberate about that and repetitive about that. You give it enough time and it eventually takes hold.

Mike Jones: Can I ask a question? If you could go back, so you said that pulling everyone together at the Mexican restaurant was a bad idea. If you could go back with hindsight, how would you have approached that differently?

Adam Goodman: That’s a great question. I think I would have slowly started to introduce this as opposed to coming up with a here’s the purpose statement and here’s who we are and it had fallen flat. I think I would have just started introducing the terms and the concepts and the ideas slowly in day to day micro interactions rather than tackle everybody at once. I think that’s what it was. If I could get, just like I got with the marketing director. I got the reaction out of her on the one on one. You put everybody in the room together and you don’t get that same dynamic. I think I needed more one on one til I had a foundation and then everybody had heard it and then I get everybody together at a Mexican restaurant, it’s familiar to them. They’ve heard it before.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I’ve heard that before. How you do it with committees, you send everybody individually [crosstalk 00:17:23] and then it’s all good and everything.

Adam Goodman: Right. Sure. No one’s gonna be demonstrative in a group environment. I think I expected they would carry me on their shoulders.

Mike Jones: That would have been awesome.

Adam Goodman: I don’t really know what I was expecting. I didn’t think it through as to how this was gonna go down. There you go.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome. So you doubled down. So did it get easier after that. Once you had the meeting and there was that note you found and you were like crap, gotta double down, do that kind of thing, how did that play out? Maybe one thing that you had to face?

Adam Goodman: It was key getting the leadership team on board first and getting them to buy in which they didn’t all buy in. So we had to make changes to the leadership team when people just didn’t buy into this. That was non-negotiable. They had to be on board with this. That change happened pretty quickly.

Chris Stadler: That’s hard.

Adam Goodman: Yeah, it is indeed. If there was on tactical part that really has made a difference or made an impact is I make a point every week to write notes home to employees. I’m talking to their families really as much as I am to them. I want the families to understand the impact that these employees are having on the community. So I’m looking for any excuse I possibly can to write a note home. Luckily we get lots of really nice feedback from customers almost everyday so it’s not too difficult. So you’re an installer and the work you did out at the University helped with the classroom, I would talk to you and your family about how an impact you made, how you made a better learning environment for students and how that’s changing the community and fulfilling our purpose and thank you very much.
Now the whole family feels proud about the contribution you’re making and its not just showing up every day and breaking your back to move furniture around.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome. Whenever my wife knows I’m doing a good job somewhere I don’t think it would affect her and the next thing I know she’s telling her Mom. [crosstalk 00:19:40] you don’t realize how much of an impact that has and what a morale boost it is just to be a hero in front of the family.

Adam Goodman: That’s exactly where we’re going.

Mike Jones: It’s great for your kids to see too. If you’re thinking about raising kids with character and everything, you know.

Adam Goodman: That’s it. I imagine that they’re on a refrigerator or somewhere, I like to think. I doubt anybody’s done that, but that’s the way I pictured it, sitting on a refrigerator next to the Mommy drawings or whatever. [crosstalk 00:20:09]

Mike Jones: So let’s get right to it then because we’re really interested here at the AZ Brandcast is we’re interested in how is Arizona kind of following examples like this. How is Arizona start to kind of find itself and how do we look at Arizona companies for inspiration. So okay, maybe we could try to be like Silicon Valley or New York City or something like that, but what about people that are already doing it here? So I guess the next question is, what would it take for Arizona to move in this direction? Maybe not exactly like you did it, but maybe exactly how you did it. What are your thoughts on Arizona kind of moving in this cool direction, finding itself.

Adam Goodman: I’ve given a lot of thought to this. I have a real interest in getting like minded companies here in Arizona who are thinking bigger. We are essentially the wild west where people are coming here to strike it rich, make a quick buck, sell the company, flip it and move on to the next. So it’s tough. In the business company I run into a lot of people who do not understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. We don’t have a lot of third generation companies. It’s easy for because I’ve got this long time horizon. I see things in a long term perspective. I think that way naturally. If my objective was to build a company and sell it in seven years, I don’t know that I would have this natural mind set, so yes, I have though about this a lot.
I think there’s an opportunity, let’s start there. I think there’s great opportunity for Arizona because we are new, because we aren’t entrenched like a lot of these other companies are, we can attract so many people so quickly that we have yet to create the identity of who we are. That, I think can become a big advantage for us. My hope, vision, dream, one of those, is that we become a place for purpose based businesses to thrive and to engage with each other. I’m not saying our purpose. It doesn’t have to be our purpose. I mean simply purpose based businesses and we can start to attract talent that cares about purpose and this becomes like a little hub and we become an echo chamber of people talking about purpose an the importance of having purpose at work. That’s quite gratifying.
How do you do that? That I’ve thought about as well. What I’ve concluded is that it’s like the Mexican food example, look at me, watch this, watch me, just like what I learned from that is you can’t carpet bomb a room with this big picture idea, it has to be more one on one hand to hand combat kind of thing. Two word metaphors and take them! [crosstalk 00:23:17]

Chris Stadler: He got you on that one. He did.

Adam Goodman: But this idea of hand to hand combat it’s gotta be, hearts and minds have gotta be won over time. This is why we, again a personal mission of mine, to help change the people. So we’re using the platform of conscious capitalism. Book press, John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, and of course Conscious Capitalism has now chapters all across the country. Did you know that the second chapter in the entire country was here in Arizona?

Mike Jones: I did, but I’m privy to insider knowledge that they’re not. [crosstalk 00:23:56]

Adam Goodman: Be surprised.

Mike Jones: Wow!

Adam Goodman: That’s what I’m saying. [crosstalk 00:24:06]

Mike Jones: Holy cow!

Chris Stadler: Say that again, because I think that’s important.

Adam Goodman: Arizona has the second chapter of Conscious Capitalism in the entire country. Right? Someone here, we know his name, Scott McIntyre, was an early adopter and championed the idea and financed the idea to get the chapter rolling. I think that’s the platform to be able to educate the local business community. If we can attract a broad audience to belong to conscious capitalism and it’s only $52 a year. Act now. Conscious Capitalism Arizona.com It’s only $52 a year, so it’s a low barrier of entry to get in to join the chapter. You start to collect people who believe what we believe. We can start to have conversations among ourselves. It’s not a particularly intensive group in terms of programming. We don’t have the money ’cause it’s only $52 a year. We just want to build the list and see who cares about this thing.
We won, I’m proud to say from [00:25:10 Pacus] Foundation, the Moose Prize last year. The Moose prize is looking for a small to medium sized company whose purpose aligns with their philanthropic work. We won. It was $40,000 prize. We took that prize and we invested it in books Conscious Capitalism and we are giving them out to everybody who comes into our office, who takes a tour of our office.

Mike Jones: So we should ask real quick, ’cause it’s a topic now. So, what is Conscious Capitalism? Just for the listeners. Can you summarize it for us?

Adam Goodman: Okay. [crosstalk 00:25:51]

Mike Jones: We should guess first. [crosstalk 00:25:51]

Adam Goodman: Conscious Capitalism is a big picture idea that you are serving more than just shareholders of a corporation. The purpose is beyond just the shareholders, but in fact there is a greater purpose, a higher purpose. Conscious Capitalism has four pillars and they include having a higher purpose as I just mentioned, having conscious leadership and having stakeholder interdependence. You think about stakeholders in terms of more that just the shareholders like I said, but its your customers and your employees and the community and the environment. These are all stakeholders. They all have an impact on each other. And then there’s the fourth pillar, so that essentially is Conscious Capitalism. [crosstalk 00:26:30]
Once you start reading is what happens is you naturally think about your own business and where you stack up on these scales. It really starts to mess with your mind in a really good way and open it up to another way to pursue business and it doesn’t have to be the way its been done for only about 50 years. By the way this idea that the purpose os business is to maximize shareholder profits is just 50 years old. It was just written by a guy in a magazine article and we all believe its Gospel. That’s the way we are running around, but no, it’s not the way it always has been. And it doesn’t have to be the way it continues to be.

Mike Jones: Awesome. Did you give us four? I only counted three.

Chris Stadler: He left the third finger.

Mike Jones: He did. I’m wracking my brain. What’s the fourth one?

Adam Goodman: I think part two of the podcast interview is gonna be fun to talk about the fourth one.

Mike Jones: Hey man, we’ll take it. [crosstalk 00:27:32] Part two. To be continued.

Chris Stadler: So this is a little different from Milt Freedman who is like companies shouldn’t be giving shareholder money. This is the opposite of that. This is still Capitalism. It’s still very much like, hey free people make decisions, it’s just that companies stand up and say “We’ve decided with our money, in a free country, to be able to give what we want and we’re gonna take care of our community and take care of all these stakeholders, not just shareholders, but all the stakeholders.

Adam Goodman: If you think of it this way, there’s more stakeholders than just the shareholder and there’s also different types of wealth you can create, not just financial wealth. Emotional wealth, spiritual wealth, physical wealth. I could probably go through ten different kinds of wealth you could bring. If you look at the list of stakeholders and the list of different types of wealth, it’s like a mix and match game and how do you want to play. It’s non-negotiable. You have to make a profit, right? That’s the capitalism part. That’s non-negotiable. But you can also do all other kinds of things for different kinds of stakeholders and make that the purpose of the business as well. It can possibly become the engine to achieve that purpose.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, yeah. And it’s self-sustaining, right?

Mike Jones: For me that’s one of the biggest draws of Conscious Capitalism is that if you’re in it for the long haul and I think that’s something we talk a lot about, in the Arizona Chapter and that’s something I care very passionately about. If you were in this business for five years and looking to sell out, would you have instituted all the things you have done over the last ten years? Maybe not. But if you’re in it for the sustainability of the organization then the purpose of that organization even if you want to get as shallow as “We want to make a profit for a long time.” How can you do that if you are shaving off your stakeholders in the process?
One of the things for me that has been so critical, like why businesses have to do business this way now is that you cannot get away with the kind of shaving that was possible 50 years ago. Where you could basically almost get slave labor in another country, facilitate your entire production line there and no consumer would understand what that meant. But now it’s like we live in this world where, if you shave from one side, the other side is gonna understand and figure that out.

Adam Goodman: Transparency.

Chris Stadler: Transparency, right? Even if you don’t want to run a transparent organization you are in this country, your employees will call you out.

Mike Jones: Your customers will call you out. You’re gonna face a downward line like there’s a limited resource for almost every company so if you don’t take care of your physical resources they won’t be here in 50 years.

Chris Stadler: Well it fits into branding too because any business that invested in branding, they’re investing in a specific purpose. So now all of a sudden when customers demand a brand name for things, they want that reputation so now companies benefit when then brand. If they’re conscious, if they’re following the tenants of Conscious Capitalism they’re gonna get rewarded for that. Whereas companies that don’t do that it’s gonna be more obvious because they just made this. They just drew this in the sand and they turn around and didn’t honor that at all. It makes everything obvious.

Adam Goodman: You’re treading on territory that makes me uncomfortable which is the part about what’s the market place reaction to this and to what extent does this drive more business and generate more business and on a consumer level I think that might have some, it might be a fair conversation to have. There’s certainly plenty of them that do a good job. Whole Foods and Kickstarter.

Chris Stadler: Well, you can fake it. That’s for sure.

Adam Goodman: Well, no, no. That’s not what I mean. I think consumers make decisions often times based on the honesty and integrity of the brand. On a business to business situation which is what we’re in, I try not to think about that. I try not think that that’s going to make any kind of difference in anyone’s decision at all. One, just internally for me, it somehow begins to feel dishonest or dishonorable if the reason we’re doing that is to hope to get more summer stuff. So I really push that out of my head and I don’t even like the conversation. I like to say that customers care about this Conscious Capitalism and this purpose as long as we’re the low bid. If we’re the low bid then it means something to them. If we’re not the low bid then they don’t care at all. That’s fine.
We’re able to compete on the traditional terms that we’ve got to compete on and win that way. So to anticipate what your next question is, then why the hell are you doing all this? One is for myself. I need purpose in my life of why I’m doing this. Two is the people here. I started this podcast talking about how my father had been able to attract great people. I knew that I needed to attract great people. I knew that by giving them a greater sense of purpose this is about an employment brand more than a marketing brand or customer brand, I should say. So yeah, just like any brand, it is a promise that we put out there that we’re gonna act a certain way and do certain things. And my goodness the employees are welcome to call us on it when they see us not acting with integrity against that brand.
To the extent customers are interested, that’s great, that’s wonderful. I’m not counting on it and I certainly don’t want it to be my driving purpose.

Mike Jones: I think that make a really good brand because they’re not doing it necessarily all for the money.

Chris Stadler: Or for the sale.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Maybe not.

Chris Stadler: It’s not all for the sale, right? I mean you’re doing it because you have a vision for it. For me the value of…your customer is one of your stakeholders, so there’s a natural spill over there, but I think for me and I think this is maybe where you’re, correct me if I’m wrong, maybe I’m putting words in your mouth that aren’t there, but for me the customers is not about the transaction, it’s about developing a great relationship. Just like you want to have a great relationship between your organization and the people who work there and the vendors who supply the things you need to get the word done, for me it’s about whether it’s A to B or B to C, whether you’re dealing with consumers of individual products selling into their home or if you’re dealing with a business, ultimately there is a relationship there. And when we have relationships with people we care about them. That’s just how it works ’cause we’re human. [crosstalk 00:35:05]

Mike Jones: I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a pitch and usually pitches are business to business, right? I have heard people who have way more experience than me say, “They have to like you and trust you.” When we pitch clients, we go into a company or companies like that, they would come in and I would say “Okay, fill out this form.” We’ll look at the numbers and find out who won. They were kind of half the time like “Technically these guys won, but we just like the other people better, so-” Then I’m like “Cool, well they win then, right?” Because that’s who you choose in real life.
So I’m wondering how much of that is “Look we feel like we know Goodman. We feel like they’re gonna be good to work with because they share our values or whatever.” A lot of that transactional time, trying to email people to try to get things done is just like so much easier now because I already know who these people are. I know what their values are right? I wonder how much-

Adam Goodman: Office furniture tends to be purchased by committee often times and so yes we may have some people on the committee that that resonates with and get that and it attracts them. You’ve got so many different personality types, often times someone wants a more objective way to make a decision. In a committee sense, this doesn’t feel right in a committee. “I just feel like I’ve done better.” That proposal was right.

Mike Jones: The high C on the team is not gonna go with the touchy, feely-

Adam Goodman: Right. Exactly.[crosstalk 00:36:51]

Mike Jones: I’ve got more vision and values. So nope. It’s the bottom line.

Adam Goodman: Exactly.

Mike Jones: How much am I gonna save or how much is this gonna cost me? How much return on investment am I gonna get?

Adam Goodman: It gets a little complicated. Then I’m saying that just to inoculate myself from the fact that we’re doing it, I don’t want you guys convincing me that we’re doing it for-

Chris Stadler: Yeah, no. I don’t sense that.

Mike Jones: I don’t sense that any time I’ve heard you talk. I don’t sent that for any of our few conversations that we’ve had. I’m not sensing that now. I think that’s really important.

Adam Goodman: It’s not about you, it’s about me, meaning in my head I gotta stay pure in my head or it’ll start perverting what I do.

Mike Jones: That’s a conversation I think amongst a lot of the Conscious Capitalism movement right now is, how do you know if someone is internalizing these things? Or is it just for show?

Chris Stadler: Yeah, I want to find it attractive. Okay, I’m doing the right thing, but now my goal, instead of doing the right thing is trying to convince you guys to do the right thing.

Adam Goodman: Yeah. Right.

Chris Stadler: So then it’s not doing the right thing.

Mike Jones: Exactly. Exactly. ‘Cause your motive-

Adam Goodman: I did the right thing. Didn’t you see what I did?

Mike Jones: Yeah, right. It’s all PR then, right? It’s a trap. What happens then is you’re like, “I’m gonna follow the example of these guys over here.” So you do just a little bit or try to do it and then you walk away frustrated thinking it’s a waste of money and time.
So what’ll have to happen in Arizona for us to gain momentum. Are there some practical things that need to happen, in your mind or is it just like, everybody should just try to be consciously capitalistic. [crosstalk 00:38:48]
Can then join Conscious Capitalism? 50 bucks.

Adam Goodman: 52.

Mike Jones: 52 dollars a year. What do you get for 52 dollars a year

Adam Goodman: You get part of the conversation. There’s news letters. There are events. There are one K events. You can come to those. At least you’re in the stream of conversation and now you can start engaging and finding people who are thinking the same way you’re thinking or curious at least about the same concepts. That’s the benefit to you. Your question is what can we do or what are we gonna do? I guess the message is, “There isn’t a think you can do or that we can do. There’s no proclamation that comes from the Governor that says from this day forward this is who we’re gonna be.” It has to be one at a time and winning the hearts and minds one at a time. So it’s a matter of the people who are currently thinking this way, reaching out to more people to get them to think this way and reaching out and reaching out. Spend 40,000 dollars on books to spread the news.
The good news is, I’d rather be doing that here than in any other city in the country because here we’ve got an opportunity where things are new enough and fresh enough and people are open mind enough and they’re starting new adventures and actually can happen here. I don’t know that I could say the same for Columbus, Ohio. It’s a corporate town. It’s sort of stagnated. I’m sorry Columbus. [crosstalk 00:40:20]

Mike Jones: Sorry Columbus, Cincinnati and what other?

Chris Stadler: Cleveland.

Mike Jones: Cleveland.

Adam Goodman: What’s the listenership like there?

Mike Jones: I think we’ll surprise you.

Chris Stadler: I don’t think we’re known in Ohio.

Adam Goodman: Okay good.

Chris Stadler: So you mentioned the Governor proclamation. You know that as soon as the government starts institutionalizing this thing that feels artificial-

Adam Goodman: That’s not to say that there’s not room for the Governor to start the conversation. That’s for sure. And frankly, what we know of our Governor is he does think this way and he does believe in these kind of things. Actually there is an opportunity in his second term perhaps he can start this kind of conversation. But yeah, it needs a high profile champion like that to at least get people thinking and talking that way.

Mike Jones: Action item. If you’re high profile and listening. Let’s get you involved.

Chris Stadler: If you’re not, just invite yourself.

Mike Jones: It’s only 52 dollars.

Chris Stadler: Who should we be talking to? Who should we have on our podcast to talk about this kind of stuff next? To have a different point of view or complimentary?

Adam Goodman: Is this thing on? We can brainstorm afterwards.

Chris Stadler: Cool. So are there any politicians involved in Conscious Capitalism right now?

Adam Goodman: I’ve met one, but I don’t think they actually took office.

Chris Stadler: Should I say politician or should I say government leader? Is that less-

Adam Goodman: Public official?

Chris Stadler: Public official. Yeah.

Mike Jones: Public official sounds very nice.

Chris Stadler: Fire department. [crosstalk 00:42:19]

Adam Goodman: Someone who is not in elected office but certainly a pubic official is the Superintendent from Phoenix Union school district. This guy is a Conscious Capitalist leader if there ever was one. A truly enlightened leader who operates on those four pillars that I talked about. I only talked about three of the pillars but he operates on all four of the pillars and you watch what happens to that school district. As it changes under his leadership, he’s only been there about two years, but it’s gonna, there’s exciting things happening there. As he changes the culture, you’ll see how a public organization can have that kind of metamorphosis by thinking this way. He’s not an elected official in the sense of holding office, but certainly those kinds of leaders start thinking and talking this way, it’ll induct others, inspire others really.

Chris Stadler: In our last couple of minutes, it’s been an awesome conversation. Thank you Adam.

Mike Jones: Yeah, thank you.

Chris Stadler: The last couple minutes maybe you can just talk really quickly about Goodman? Talk about the company real quick and maybe the [inaudible 00:43:26]

Adam Goodman: The first thing to know about our company is it’s plural. It’s Goodmans. You keep saying Goodman. My last name is Goodman, but he company’s name is Goodmans.

Chris Stadler: Goodmans.

Adam Goodman: Goodmans. No apostrophe. It’s not possessive, it’s just plural. A lot of people put the possessive by mistake.

Chris Stadler: Right. [crosstalk 00:43:44]

Adam Goodman: Okay, I’m sorry. I’m just kidding.

Chris Stadler: No, no. I would have put an apostrophe if you wouldn’t have said something. [crosstalk 00:43:56]

Adam Goodman: So we’re in Phoenix and Tuscan. Albuquerque. We have big offices and warehouses in each one of those locations. We’re a Hern and Miller distributor and have been for 50 years. It’s our 50th year of partnership with Hern Miller. We also represent Dirt. Dirt is an interior construction process really. It stands for Do It Right This Time. D.I.R.T.T. Meaning if you’re gonna build a building, don’t do it the old way you’ve been doing it for hundreds of years, but there’s a new way to do it involving new technologies involving new processes. Faster and better on the environment. More sustainable for the long term. You’re sitting in it right now. Listeners if you could only see how beautiful this product is.

Chris Stadler: It is beautiful.

Adam Goodman: It is beautiful. You can find us at Goodmans.com that’s www.Goodmans.com Open weekdays til 6, Saturdays until 2.

Chris Stadler: Awesome. [crosstalk 00:44:58]

Adam Goodman: I’m not there Saturdays.

Mike Jones: Don’t come on Saturdays.

Chris Stadler: I’ve see your website and there’s some really nice stuff up there. I encourage you to go, listeners, and check it out. The Goodmans store across the street. And Mike, let’s wrap it up.

Adam Goodman: Where are you from Mike?

Mike Jones: I’m from Resound.

Chris Stadler: What do you do?

Mike Jones: We’re a brand agency out of Tempe, Arizona. We work with small and medium sized businesses to unpack their core story and tell it to the world. So you can find us at Resoundcreative.com Hit me up. Mike@resoundcreative.com And Chris, what are you up to?

Chris Stadler: I’m Chris. I love projects and content. You can find me at www.chrisstadler.com One of my favorite people to work with is Mike and Resound.

Mike Jones: Oh.

Chris Stadler: Let’s do some projects. There’s nothing but a party going on over there at Resound.

Adam Goodman: You’ll be at the Laugh Factory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this weekend. [crosstalk 00:45:57]

Chris Stadler: I’m game. Let’s go.

Mike Jones: Bye everybody. Thanks for listening. To the AZ Brandcast you can find it at www.ABrandcast.com

Chris Stadler: No apostrophe.

Mike Jones: Alright. Love you guys.

Chris Stadler: Talk to you later.

Adam Goodman: See ya.

Chris Stadler: And we’re done.

Adam Goodman: Thank you.

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