What About Belief and Hope?

If you don’t know about Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, or for that matter, you haven’t been, you’re missing out. Living in the NYC area, we’re deluged with great delis. Yet, Zingerman’s is right up there with the best of them. But what’s behind this organization and who’s leading it merits accolades.

Ari Weinzweig, one of the co-founders of Zingerman, was interviewed recently by the Hitachi Foundation. His leadership has propelled Zingerman’s to great heights, a company today with over $60 million in revenues. This is a compelling article, bringing in relevant metaphors about how to build an organization through belief and hope.

As we look to the new year, take a moment to read this article. As leaders, we all should cherish our potential to change people’s beliefs and hope for building our organizations, teams and/or family. Zingerman’s has changed people’s beliefs about food and what work means among other things. Ari also has translated his thinking to the positive feelings about work, and helping one grow as a person. Tolerating is not a recipe for a productive life.

Ari’s example about how he changed his deep-seated/somewhat impulsive opinion about his dislike of Pimento cheese was astounding after he attended a conference hosted by the Southern Foodways Alliance. He re-thought this opinion (and belief) through more research and voila; Pimento cheese became a staple and expansive line of products with Pimento.

Ari’s metaphor about beliefs are akin to what he calls “the root system of our lives” and organizational culture is our soil. For those in sports, this root system is our staff, coaches, student-athletes and their collective ideas. Yes, culture takes time to take root, yet it does yield it’s fruits.

How do you feed and nurture your root system? How do they fuel your success and growth?

Wishing you health, happiness and hope for this holiday and the new year.