Leadership Heretics and Purpose at Conscious Capitalism 2016

leadership heretics and purpose

I’ve stopped policing my workforce of sixteen and seventeen year olds and achieve world-class results by allowing them to self-organize and use our peer-based leadership model, Trust and Track, to run our restaurants.’ – Nick Sarillo, author of ‘A Slice of the Pie: How to Build a Big Little Business


A little over a week ago, on April 12th, I joined 30 attendees of the Conscious Capitalism (CC) 2016 conference to take a field trip to Nick’s Pizza and Pub  in the suburbs of Chicago.

Nick’s Pizza and Pub has been featured in a variety of magazines and reports. They are among the top ten busiest independent pizza chains in the US with margins twice those of the average pizza joint and with employee turnover less than 20% in an industry that averages 150%.purpose and conscious

I personally met a number of employees who had 10+ years of experience, some of whom started while in high school.

What’s unique is Nick’s philosophy that ‘if you train people right and take care of them, they will do the right thing for both themselves and the business.’


We enjoyed an hour tour and lunch; it was a fitting kick-off for the 48-hour event, the annual gathering of members from chapters around the country. I learned of CC from a friend who described it as ‘the most inspirational and best networking event of the year.’ Over 400 other people, interested in how “conscious capitalism can elevate humanity”, gathered at the Loew’s Hotel in Chicago, IL for a few days to reflect, connect, and explore.

I attended with the express interest in exploring ‘Purpose’.


Some things I learned about purpose …

1. Nick’s Pizza and Pub. It was cool to experience an actual place where employees, mostly teens and young adults, can self-organize and use peer-based leadership to run one of the most successful pizzerias in the country! 

purpose and conscious capitalism
Second City Improv

2. Second City. I attended a live ‘Sketch and Improv’ session on leadership through trust, support, and ‘ensemble’ from some of the originals from The Second City, Chicago

3. The Future of Brand Storytelling. Simon Mainwaring highlighted how our world is changing and most companies are woefully unprepared. In a purpose economy our ability to ‘own a fundamental human element’, to ‘be a chief celebrant vs. a chief celebrity’, and ‘to be a mission with a company vs. a company with a mission’ through storytelling is paramount.

4. Igniting Your Online Presence. Fast paced discussion with Tim Levy on building your online presence, with an emphasis on the potentially game-changing YouTube platform.

5. Three Vital Questions You Should Be Asking… Every Day. Learned about moving from the Dreaded Drama Triangle and to The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) with Dave Emerald.

6. Building a Bridge to Millennials. Relating exercises with Millennials from a successful Millennial (loved the chat but a Millennial for sure… entitled to our time but unsympathetic to our own circumstances… 🙂 )

purpose and conscious capitalism
Vulnerability Game

7. The Vulnerability Game. Played the [soon to be released] Vulnerability Game with Corey Blake from Round Table Companies.

8. Purpose Oriented Employees. Explored the science behind ‘Purpose’ and the importance of attracting and retaining purpose-oriented employees with Aaron Hurst from Imperative.

9. B Corporations. Learned about a relatively new legal organization, B Corporations. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

10. Connections. Made some cool connections. Restaurant owners from Columbia, consultants from Mexico City, London, and San Paulo; a fellow Buckeye and driver of purposeful organizations, a ‘friend from Philly‘ helping enable young female entrepreneurs via organizations like Bloom Planners, as well as a number of other purpose-oriented folks.


Some intentions….

1. To be more Intentional, Focused, and Disciplined about connecting with purpose-oriented people.

2. To introduce the idea of brand storytelling to my consulting clients, as well as continuing to develop Fork Consulting’s story in this increasingly interdependent, hyper-connected, and complex world.

3. To continued exploring purpose-driven leadership with fellow members of the CC tribe.


Parting thoughts…

I’ve attended conferences of all sizes and shapes. This is without a doubt one of the best I’ve experienced.

If you’d like to chat more about the conference or becoming involved in Central Ohio, hit me up!


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3 responses to “Perspective, Narrative and Crows”

  1. Nate says:

    Well worded, John. This was both a fun and fascinating read. It reminds me of parenting – our perspective of what we ‘think’ our children are doing don’t always match what their intentions are. I’m often reminded by my three year old to pause before reacting, and think from his perspective what he’s trying to accomplish.

    • John Jolley says:

      100% great example of the narratives we, as parents, tell ourselves based on the context of some greater period of life.

      I love it and yes, one of my narrative changes was to watch and learn from my kids who haven’t been groomed by the system!!


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3 responses to “Clouds and Context”

  1. Sean says:

    Nice, again!

  2. […] my last post I talked about Context and its influence on our interpretation of our current circumstances. In […]

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