Positive Leadership

Leading with purpose (with Vincent Stanley)

September 14, 2021 Jean-Philippe Courtois Season 1 Episode 6
Leading with purpose (with Vincent Stanley)
Positive Leadership
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Positive Leadership
Leading with purpose (with Vincent Stanley)
Sep 14, 2021 Season 1 Episode 6
Jean-Philippe Courtois

If there’s one person who can teach us about building and leading responsible organizations, it’s Vincent Stanley – Patagonia’s Director of Philosophy and Chief Storyteller, who has been with the iconic company since its beginning. Listen in as JP and Vincent discuss how to create a ‘collective consciousness’, the difference between feeling empowered and being empowered, and more – despite a huge storm coming Vincent's way!

Subscribe now to JP's free monthly newsletter "Positive Leadership and You" on LinkedIn to transform your positive impact today: https://www.linkedin.com/newsletters/positive-leadership-you-6970390170017669121/

Show Notes Transcript

If there’s one person who can teach us about building and leading responsible organizations, it’s Vincent Stanley – Patagonia’s Director of Philosophy and Chief Storyteller, who has been with the iconic company since its beginning. Listen in as JP and Vincent discuss how to create a ‘collective consciousness’, the difference between feeling empowered and being empowered, and more – despite a huge storm coming Vincent's way!

Subscribe now to JP's free monthly newsletter "Positive Leadership and You" on LinkedIn to transform your positive impact today: https://www.linkedin.com/newsletters/positive-leadership-you-6970390170017669121/

JP: Hello, everyone. This is JP and welcome back to the Positive Leadership Podcast. You know, this is where we explore where and how people and leaders really energize their teams so that they can have a really powerful impact in their work, in their lives as well.  

Today, what I'd like us to explore in a way is a very unique set of companies, so-called ‘The B Corporations’. 

And one of such companies is Patagonia. It has become a legend. And so today it’s really my pleasure to welcome Vincent Stanley, who is Patagonia’s Director of Philosophy, also clearly, Chief Storyteller for the company, and former Head of Sales and Marketing as well.  

So he's been at Patagonia since the beginning, working closely with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the company. And if there's really one person I could invite to my podcast to share with us how a purpose-led company can drive a great positive social impact, it is Vincent.  

It's my honor and pleasure to welcome Vincent for joining me today. Vincent, welcome. 

VINCENT STANLEY: Thank you very much Jean-Philippe for having me here, really delighted to talk to you. And you’re the only person who I’ve talked to in a long time who pronounces Yvon’s name correctly. 

JP: Well, this is because of my French accent, I’m afraid, so I... 

VINCENT STANLEY: That’s right. 

JP: For some of you who are listening to the podcast who are not familiar with B corporations, let me just say they’re the highest level. Those are certified businesses by the B-Lab that meet the highest standards of social environmental performance, while balancing profit and purpose. 

So over the years, Patagonia has become again, an icon for embracing the dual responsibility of financial commitment and positive societal impact. 

VINCENT STANLEY: You know, it’s something that you mentioned, actually, about B corps and the idea of balancing profit and purpose. And I'd like to share something. 

I think that if I look back 15, 18 years ago, when we had already started doing a lot of our sustainability work, we had helped develop with our supplier recycled polyester and nylon, we had switched to organic cotton... We'd gone through this process, but I'd say that if you were in a meeting with anyone in one of the critical roles of creating clothing at Patagonia, you might have noticed kind of a healthy tension among different groups in the company. There would have been the go-getters, the salespeople and product people who were creating new things that were trying to sell. You would have the bean counters who tried to prevent sales and marketing from giving everything away. And then you have the tree huggers, the people who are very passionate about both supporting local activists through our grants program and minimizing our environmental impact through our business practices. And it was almost… Nobody ever won. There was tension among those groups, but nobody won. So it was almost by capillary action, that the culture evolved over, and I'd say for the last 10 years, what's happened and I think that this is what’s really necessary, I think what's happened is that the business model is based on purpose. It’s no longer this compromise among these different groups. There’s still tension. But fundamentally, the constraints that we have both social and environmental on which we said no, we were not going to do this. We're not going to use conventionally grown cotton. We want to be in factories that pay a living wage. We want to deal with a bank that is minimizing its involvement in fossil fuels. Those constraints have led to innovation, both in products and in business practices that then become the model that differentiates us from competitors, that all of our stakeholders identify with, our customers, our employees, our suppliers, the communities we’re involved in. We’ve been telling the same story, developing it for a very long time. And we’re sometimes afraid of this because we built a strong level of trust, but that trust also enables the business to evolve and to meet its purpose more, rather than be deflected by conversations about what the business needs to do. 

JP: What a wonderful start, Vincent, to start, really, you know, educating us on a purpose-led business, all based on trust and again, deep convictions. If you allow me, I'd like to start with you actually a little bit so that people get a sense of who Vincent is, because you've been beating me in terms of loyalty to the company, right, in terms of decades of partnering with Yvon Chouinard and the company. With a very unique title, Director of Philosophy. I must say, it's the first time I encounter such a title in the business community. I know you've also another unofficial title, the Chief Storyteller. I know you shared with me as well, you've been like me at one point in your career, Head of Sales, so I’d love to hear about that. And I know you're also a poet, by the way. And that's another very interesting, I'm sure, skillset you bring to the to the table.  

So I’d love to start really hearing from you about your journey in a way, Vincent, the way it’s been shaping you to help defining and propagating the culture at Patagonia. You know, in one of the last episodes I had with Kevin Johnson, you may know the President and CEO of Starbucks and used to be one of my managers actually many years back. He talked about the way storytelling was helping him shaping the culture across the world for Starbucks.  

So tell us the way all of your, not titles, but obviously experiences, are bringing these, you know, this really huge value to the Patagonia company. 

VINCENT STANLEY:  A couple of things, a couple of strands in my life. I'm vocationally a writer and have been since I was 10 years old. That's always what I wanted to be and it was what I was best at. And when I started with Patagonia, I really intended to stay for six months or eight months and make some money and travel in Europe. I had no intention of working there for 48 years. But I got engaged by this little company. I love this small culture of climbers and surfers even though I wasn't a climber or a surfer. And I loved the enterprise of creating Patagonia, which we did the first year I was there. So I got hooked in. And I think over for 20 years, I was Head of Sales, I don't know that I was a very good Head of Sales. I was very good at starting the sales organization, which we didn't have before and professionalizing myself, and then the sales operations. But the other thing I always did was to write out some, you know, if we had a new product, or we had a new initiative that was difficult to explain, I would often do that. And so after three decades or so, those two strands of my life really came together. Increasingly I was able to speak for what I learned at Patagonia over those decades, a lot of it about culture, some of it about sustainability and to put them together. And I think that that my experience in the hard, sort of the hardware of the business and the sales and the marketing side has given me a different perspective than most people who come in, say from organizational development or from the HR side of the business. 

JP: Yeah, that's really enlightening to hear you, Vincent, talking about the power of words. As you said, my kind of core passion, if I'm not mistaken, is a writer, to write. And I think, you know, what we discussed in one of our last podcasts with Satya Nadella is the power of words to bring clarity to people, which I believe is so critical when you lead a team, in the small to the largest enterprise in the world, internally and externally, being clear, authentic, transparent about what you stand for and what you intend to do. So I'm sure that the power of your words have been certainly helping a lot Patagonia's evolving form for many years. Vincent, you talked, you just mentioned culture, which, to me is also a big theme, you know, under the, I would say, the Positive Leadership development steps. And to me, culture is critical, because it allows people to do meaningful work, which to me is about creating the best environment for people to strive, both in their jobs, of course, but sometimes eventually beyond their jobs. And for sure, Patagonia is a company that has not just an ambition that is doing and having a positive impact in society in a big way. So what I’d like to hear from you, you know, from the early days of this, I would say, I think you call yourself a ‘band of climbers and surfers’, to Patagonia of 2021. What did it take for you and the company to find your meaning, right, and to define the meaning for all the people so that they got committed, excited and wanting to achieve more? 

VINCENT STANLEY:  It's interesting, I think that one of the things I'm most curious about as a student of Patagonia is that the best parts of the culture of 1973 of this small band of climbers and surfers have actually survived into 2021. And I would say that early on, there were two strong characteristics of the culture. One was a committed and pretty fearless owner, Yvon Chouinard. And the second, it's almost that, because we were so green, we were so young, we were so inexperienced, and we were so dumb, that we, whenever we had to do something new, I had to hire a lot of sales reps, or we had to go to a trade show for the first time, or we had to create a ski product – an area that we'd never worked in before – we would rely on each other. In other words, nobody would come in and say I'm the expert on this and we're going to do it my way. Everybody was an amateur. And so we relied on each other to actually develop the kinds of questions we needed to ask in order to get things done. And I think that permission to do that was there, nobody interfered with that process. Nobody came in and said, “You're all worker bees and I'm, I'm the queen bee, or the king bee and you're going to do what I say”. That that didn't happen. And Yvon, as an owner, never operated that way. He used to say, I'd never come in and criticize anybody for what they've done. I only come in and criticize people for what they haven't done, for a project they haven't started etc. So what survived in the company, I think, is this strong sense of agency and volition at the middle management level that often acts as a corrective to mistakes made by senior management. The problem senior management has is a 30,000 foot view without knowing the place, without knowing the locality.  

I'll give you an example. When I was… The last time I was the Head of Marketing, I made yoga wear an international imperative, you know, I said, “Okay, in October I want every store window to have yoga clothes”. And then somebody told me, you know what, yoga doesn't mean anything in Japan. So it's that kind of thing that management tends to do, because you're looking at the big picture, that it needs, it really needs to be bolstered by what bubbles up from the bottom. And what managers can do or what leaders can do as you're talking about which is a little bit different from managing, is to almost understand the collective consciousness of the company, say these are our strengths, these are our challenges, these are the limitations we put on ourselves. This is the story of the company. And it's not just a story of what we've become. It's the story that creates the possibilities for what we will become. It is our definition or our soul. And then if the leader understands that, then you can, everybody else understands that. That’s not just a vision that's coming out of one mind. That's a shared vision. And so what I think companies need to do, particularly in a time of social and environmental crisis, is to really understand their particular culture, their particularity, their strengths. And if you lead from that point of view, you engage that part of every employee that also believes that story, and also wants to help grow as a person. Because they're doing something that's beyond sales, they're doing something beyond just the role they play. They're, creating an impact and hopefully an impact for good., I’m sorry that’s such a long, convoluted answer, but yeah. 

JP: No, it is wonderful. It's actually great to hear the way you articulate so well, I think, Vincent. I'm just trying to recap in my mind with the listeners, I think what you said, which is well, leaders have this responsibility, right, to build that collective consciousness, which is really about understanding the deep roots of the culture, shaping and creating a company. Managers have the right, it's not easy, by the way, I know that because leaders need to let them do that, to correct the mistakes of the leaders, because, of course, leaders from 30,000 feet make a lot of mistakes. And your story in Japan resonated well with me as I've been running all those countries for Microsoft for years and I know that I learn so much by visiting, revisiting all those countries one at a time to understand the uniqueness of them. And finally, as you said, the people then really are in that environment, can truly make their best work. So I think makes wonderful sense, but we know it's super hard to do. So if you can elaborate just a little bit on that, because I read that also in The Responsible Company, and you talk about the way also you're trying to get this meaningful work for the people all the way from the supply chain team, to the stores people, you know, to the headquarters people then throughout other places where you operate in the world as a company. How do you align everyone in the company, right, to really bring his best oneself and also to live the mission of the company every day? 

VINCENT STANLEY: Yeah, I think probably the most successful expression of our culture is among those who are not highly paid and many of them will not be with the company for a long time. But there are a couple of things. One is people who come to work for us in retail tend to identify with company's values, as well as the products and there, you know, the advantage we have is that we make products that allow people, or that people use doing things they love to do. So there's a kind of warm feeling about that from the beginning, and that is true of employees as well as customers. But the second thing, if you ever go into a Patagonia store and you have a problem, something is out of stock, or you bring in a jacket with a broken zipper, no one will ever refer you to a manager. You’ll be... that employee will feel the power to actually deal with that problem, and solve it and will not be afraid do it in a way the manager doesn't like. They’ll never be criticized for it. And I think that that's an example of putting together the story and the culture in a way that the employee can really believe it. And the employees love that. They love, especially if they've been working in retail, they love that opportunity to solve problems on their own, without saying okay, this has to go, I have to bump this up to the next level. 

JP: I love it. This is truly, you know, I know in our business jargon, we always talk about empowerment and, you know, as a French person, I find it super hard. We cannot translate in my own language actually, Vincent. And so to me when I talk to many of my peers, colleagues, team members across Microsoft and other in the industry, and we use the word empowerment, I'm always checking in about actually facts and behaviours about what it is actually people can really do and as you tell me that you truly enable your first line employees in the stores to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customer without calling the boss or headquarters and take that immediate decision, that’s to me is real empowerment. And I love it, as someone who's been customer obsessed for many years, to be able to achieve that. That's really wonderful.  

VINCENT STANLEY:  I think that sometimes businesses make the mistake, especially top down, you want employees to feel empowered, but you don't want them to be empowered. 

JP: Yes. I love it. 

VINCENT STANLEY: And that creates… That doesn’t work very well. 

JP: I love it. And Vincent, just to continue a bit this dialogue. You know, clearly, people at Patagonia and some other companies, of course in the world, have the privilege to work for companies that have not only a big social mission, but who are actually doing something about it. And we know this is fulfilling and this is such a great place to be. 

But what would be your advice for all the others, meaning employees working in a company that doesn't have necessarily any sense of purpose or, you know, a real sense of the mission? Where would you start as an employee, as a manager, as a leader, to become maybe a change agent? Maybe I'm a bit provocative, because I know you guys are working a lot on activism as well, which is another thing I'd like to touch on later on. But what would be your advice for all those people and leaders in such companies? 

VINCENT STANLEY: I think it goes back to what we've been talking about. I think it's very hard to talk about a mission and a purpose if you really don't have one, or if you really haven't identified what it is. And I think the one thing that's driving business now, though, can help people find out what their purpose or their mission is or should be, is that we do have, we're in a world of hurt with Covid, with climate change, with social inequality, with climate, you know, climate and political refugees. And everyone, I think human beings don't want, we're not very happy if we just turn our heads to that and concentrate on our own small piece of life. I think human beings, we feel, not necessarily happier, but more satisfied and livelier if we're actually dealing with what confronts us. So I think business as well as government and civil society really have to be working to solve these problems and they're interlinked - social problems and environmental problems. And so how can your business contribute, both in terms of the products or services you offer and in the way you make things? So we make outdoor clothes, which is great, so people can experience the natural world or the natural life and themselves. But it's not, that’s not enough. We have to make it in the right way. So that we don't, we don't dye the river in Vietnam purple from making jeans that end up leaving that indigo in the water. And so I think that that's a way for companies to go. And I think we're all going to have… I think everybody, if I talk to a very large companies now, I haven’t talked to you about this, but at other companies, they talk about reputational risk. They talk about investors and that changing climate and sovereign funds and institutional investors that really want to see some action in terms of climate change and hold companies more responsible than people used to. And you have… If you want to attract employees, you want to attract the brightest employees and the most committed, you also have to kind of show your face, and understand how your company can actually improve its social and environmental practices so that it does create meaningful work. 

JP: Yeah, I'm really 100% with you, Vincent, and I'll get back to that dialogue in a few minutes. Because I think you're right, there's an emerging need, this emergency now coming from employees, from customers, from even shareholders to do the right thing as a company, at least connected to the core expertise of the company, whatever business you are in, in the world. Very, very clear to me.  

I'd like to continue a little bit more on the employees because I think you said already some, you know, some very, I would say wise advice for managers, leaders, when you were talking about empowerment but in your book, you talked about that responsibility that companies have to their employees as much as they have the same to their customers, to nature as well, to the world, right. And I remember, actually, even when I think about that anecdote in the book, I think Yvon Chouinard had started with a book called Let my People Go Surfing, which I understand became a handbook for Patagonia employees onboarding, right. So it become the guide, the bible, I don't know, whatever expression I can use, right, to really live the culture. So my question is really, you touched a little bit on that as well, but in the context of, again, what you and I shared on, you know, on positive leadership, which to me, again, is about, you know, things like empathy, self-awareness, positive management of your energy, positive communication, being a purpose-led organization, promoting a growth mindset, learning it all, as opposed to, you know, to pretending you know it all, of course. To me, all of those attributes are part of what I call Positive Leadership fabrics in a company. So I’d like to hear from you, if you… So how are some of those fundamentals built into Patagonia's leadership culture, in a way, where you connect with that positive leadership or positive philosophy – to come back to your official title, if I may? 

VINCENT STANLEY:  I think it's been a struggle for us. I think that the culture has been, as I mentioned, very strong at the kind of middle management level, but I don't think we… I think our, for many years, our leadership style was rather traditional and I would include myself in that. When I was figuring out how to how to run sales, or how to run marketing, I wasn't necessarily looking at what was the best way for Patagonia to go, I was going, or what is the best way in the world? What do other people do? What are the best practices? Who are the leaders? And I think a lot of my idea of professional practices that I formed in my 20s and 30s, I later had to abandon because they weren't sufficient. There's a great quote from Dwight Eisenhower, who said, you know, he was the logistics genius of World War Two on the American side, and he said, whenever I can't solve a problem, I make it bigger. So that you have this, you approach a larger understanding. So I think the difficulty in our company, and often we would bring in people from some other organization and they would come in, usually what happens is, as you know well from working at Microsoft, is as the company evolves or it grows, you need to change your systems. And when you change your systems, your existing employees don't know how to do those systems, so you go to a larger company and bring in people. And often those people would come in and say, well, these guys are – I know what needs to be done. And then you would have that kind of cultural clash until people were integrated into the company. We hired a Head of HR from, he had been Head of HR at Sears. And he was, he's a wonderful man. And he took to the company right away, but he said, you know, I had to unlearn a lot of what I had learned in my professional life in order to be able to function here. 

JP: So basically you said unlearning, right? By basically accepting to learn it all another time as you join this new company, which was Patagonia for this leader. 

VINCENT STANLEY: Yeah. Yeah, we didn't have the theory, you know, and it wasn't as developed 40 years ago. And we still operate more, I think, by trial and error, than by, I don’t… I don't know how many people in the company have read Peter Singer. You know, I don't know how many people are, are experts in the developments in neuroscience or organizational development. But some of the things that Peter Singer talks about, I know from experience we've kind of discovered for ourselves at Patagonia and I think that that's actually the… I just pause it and I read this somewhere that you learn things twice. First when you get the information and second when you experience it. 

JP: Exactly. I’m thinking a lot about those lived experiences, right, I mean, in the way you do things, you do mistakes, and you learn by exposing yourself into making it, into being, again into being an active participant as opposed just to someone who's lecturing others. Right. 


JP: So let me shift gears, Vincent, a little bit. And certainly one we've been talking together about, of course, both your impact into the company, the mission-led shaping of Patagonia, the people aspects of it, all the way from individuals to manager’s, leader’s role, which was fascinating. And you already touched on, at the very beginning of our call, of our podcast, clearly, you know, the socially purpose organization that is Patagonia, and that many others have to follow the path. 

So I’d like really to come back to some of the, you know, some of the statements you made in your book, again, it was a while ago, but I think it still resonates the same way. In The Responsible Company, you said, actually, it's not individuals that waste… 75% of the waste of the world is made by companies, not individuals. And it really, again, begs the question about what is the accountability, again, of the corporate world overall? and as of course, the world is exposed now to a reality check with the climate drama happening globally, I’d love to hear from your experience about what it took Patagonia, but what would be your advice to others as they just start this journey on this word that I know you don't like too much... I heard you talking about sustainability: “No, I don't want to be a sustainable business because this is not inspiring, this is not this is not what it takes”. So can you expand more on your philosophy of how a company can go through the journey of shaping that societal impact, on top of meeting their financial obligations?  

VINCENT STANLEY: There’s a fellow named Daniel Goleman, who has written a lot about emotional intelligence and he wrote a book about ecological intelligence and he had a mantra that that I really liked and I'll see now if I'm challenged to remember it. When a company is working to change its impact, to reduce its harmful impact and maybe to increase its positive good, I think in our experience, one, you have to be brave enough to find out what you're doing. Because this is an interconnected world. Patagonia owns no factories, then we could easily turn… Our problems are on somebody else's balance sheet in some way, you know, we're not responsible for the dyes that are that are put into the products, technically. We're not responsible for the labor practices, technically. But over the years, we've come to accept responsibility for everything that goes into the product that has the Patagonia label on it. So I think the important thing to realize is, first of all, you have to understand what your impacts are and those impacts go well beyond your doors. And then the second is to act. Simply stop doing what you can stop doing that hurts people and that hurts the world. And then the third part of the mantra was to share what you learn, because I think that once a company does something gives people courage, and they say, well, okay, well, they can do that, we can do that, too. That's possible. That's not outside the realm of possibility. There's a story I used to tell that I really love, that Dunkin' Donuts, which is the big chain in the United States, right, they used Fairtrade coffee. And they never talked about it. Because they viewed their customers, the cop on the beat, you know, the kind of Trump supporter who wouldn't want to hear a kind of soft story about Fairtrade. But the fact is, is if Dunkin’ Donuts can do Fairtrade coffee, anybody any coffee maker in the world can do that as well. And so I think they should have shared that. 

JP: It’s a great story, Vincent, and certainly a lot to learn from you from many, many different dimensions. So, you know, just building on that kind of learning curve you got you've been going through as a company, Patagonia. There's a big trend obviously when it comes to environmental, you know, plans and the way you think about it as a company and I love your three steps, by the way, it makes tonnes of sense. It’s all about, what think what you call in your book, reduce, repair, reuse, recycle. I'm simplifying that, you know, because today, the diverse word being used is kind of a circular economy, I'm sure that you know really well those words. Would you… What would be your advice, because many companies in the world are figuring out now the way they can have a role, a positive role, by being an active participant in that circular economy. So what would be again your tips – or more than tips, wisdom – to share, or to add on how to embark and start the journey of building your own circular ecosystem, right, as a company and participate to the positive impact? 

VINCENT STANLEY: You know, I'm not an expert on this. I'm not much of an expert on anything except Patagonia, but I would say that I think circular economy, or circular business, has tremendous potential. But what you really have to do is you have to work with companies. You can't just work on your own. And I think that the mantra is one company's waste is another company's feedstock. And that's the principle to work on. How do you, how do you organize your processes, so that whatever looks like waste from your company actually benefits another? I think that's an important development. You really have to work with others. You can't work… It doesn't matter to work internally on circular economy questions. 

JP: No, I absolutely agree. I think in many ways it's back to that learning curve or immersing your company yourself into, really, all of your stakeholders, what I'm calling, for the sake of a better word, ecosystem. All the way from suppliers to partners to customer to regulators someone as well and others right, to be part of that discussion going on, to collectively do things positively. And maybe just on that one, how do you see activism at the center of that? Because I was really struck by the position I think, as a company, to encourage your employees and even your customers’ activism in social causes, which is very visible on your website in the first place where you have great stories about what people do, actually. 

VINCENT STANLEY: I think it makes sense for us. We have been… I mean, one of the things that happened is because we made clothes for climbers and surfers and people who are going to remote places to do very difficult things, outdoor people started to see the environmental crisis much earlier than people in cities. Because if you're a climber and you go back to Kilimanjaro after five years and you can see the retreat of the glaciers or if you're a fisherman, you know that the trout are smaller and fewer in the stream that you were getting last year. I think also the other, you know, if you're a commercial fisherman, if you're in the kind of business, you would start to see the effects that desertification of the planet much sooner than we ordinarily would see from an office in the city. We also, we understood from the beginning that what we did as a company polluted and created harm even before we knew what those harms were. We didn't have, we didn't have the intention or the resources to find out, but we had the instinct that we needed to pay an earth tax. So we started to give 1% of sales to environmental organizations and in the mid-1980s. And we also understood something instinctually about the value of place. So the organizations we gave to tended to be very small, the kinds of organizations nobody else would give money to but they were working to save a particular stretch of water or patch of land and they were respected in their community for what they were doing, even if they had opposition. That was kind of the basis, so we supported for 20 or 30 years, we supported activists in a very strong way. But I think as the environmental crisis became more chronic than episodic, as we really started to see an urgent need to address these problems, we became an activist company ourselves. I’m going to have to pause for a moment, Jean-Philippe, because a huge storm has moved in.  

JP: Oh, sorry Vincent. You should come in.  

VINCENT STANLEY:  If that’s ok. I don’t want to get wet. I'm on the porch so I'm going to move to the other side here. 

JP: Okay, I will wait for you to come back, Vincent. Find a shelter. Yeah. Let me know when you're ready.  

VINCENT STANLEY: Yeah, I'm ready.  

JP: So maybe let me let me ask you the I think, actually the last question, Vincent. You know, it's been a fascinating discussion over the past many minutes together, again, all the way from people, leaders, empowerment, cultural mission, purpose-led and I’d like in a way to finish last question about the advice you'd be giving, you know, three simple kind of advice you'd give to leaders who are starting to shape their business strategy with a real sense of a positive social, environmental impact, right, where should they start? And what should they do first, second, and third? 

VINCENT STANLEY: You saved the easiest question for the last. 

JP: I know. You are the Director of Philosophy, so I know you're going to bring it to the next level with us. 

VINCENT STANLEY:  I would advise a couple of steps. First is this whole question of defining your story, of defining your purpose. Businesses are… It’s the same as snowflakes or people, no businesses is exactly like another. Every culture is different. And so you have to figure out what the strengths of your organization are and what its challenges are. The second thing I would look at is find allies, find people who have done before. I think that's one of the great things about the B Corp movement is that you can have company, you can learn from people who have done something that you're trying to learn how to do. I often advise young entrepreneurs, I tell them, you know, often people ask me, okay, I'm going to build up my business, you know, to starting up, you know, to 5 million or 10 million or 15 million and I'm going to do what I can to get to that point, and then I'm going to become a good guy. And I always advise people, I say, No, you don't do that, do that from the beginning. Because what you want to do is you want to create the same expectations in your investors, your suppliers, your customers, your employees. You don't want to change the story on them five years in. And then we started this organization called 1% for the planet, which companies give 1% of sales for environmental causes. So it's very easy to do when you start out with no sales to give 1%. But if you're a $50 billion dollar company, and then you tell your CFO, okay, I want you to carve this out, we're going to spend a lot less on something else, it’s a much harder story to adopt. It's like individuals who, you know, young people start saving part of their paycheck early on and never notice it. 

JP: Well, Vincent, I mean, great advice, obviously. And I want to finish by thanking you really deeply for your candor, for basically your poetry between the lines I could feel it, for your wisdom, your insights, which I think will be I'm sure greatly received by our listeners, on what it takes truly to exercise that positive leadership within your company, but far beyond your company to have an impact in the world. So thanks a ton Vincent and I wish you the very best and take care of yourself and all the people you love and all the surfers and climbers at Patagonia. 

VINCENT STANLEY: Thank you Jean-Philippe. And you know, I wish I had a podcast. I would want to interview you because I think all of the questions that you've asked me, I would very much like to ask you about your 37 years at Microsoft and what you learned and what the challenges were. I hope to meet you in person and in Paris. I want to get back to Europe. 

JP: I look forward to it and having a great cup of coffee with you and more, certainly Vincent and discuss all of that together. Thanks a lot again, take care and looking forward again to staying in touch.  

VINCENT STANLEY: Okay, thank you. Merci bien.  

JP: Merci beaucoup, Vincent. A huge thank you, Vincent. That was so inspiring and so much learning for me to feed my next episodes of my podcast. What a privilege again to speak to someone who's playing such a big role in promoting responsible companies in our society. 

Let me share my three takeaways today. The first one is, with all the people working in your company, they could be bean counters, tree huggers, climbers, surfers or something else, please make sure you make the difference between feeling empowered and be empowered. As leaders, I think one of your key roles is to understand and shape that collective consciousness which is what we call culture. And the third takeaway is, if you really want to build a purpose led business model from scratch as a company, be brave enough to know what you are doing and the impact you have. Stop doing the bad things you do immediately, and learn and share practices from others and even unlearn things that you've done for so many years that need to stop.  

So I hope you feel as inspired as me, myself with Vincent Stanley, it’s been wonderful. But please join me next time. I'm coming with a new episode where I will be exploring a very different world, the world of American football, with one of the most iconic coaches, Pete Carroll. Stay tuned and see you all very soon. Thank you.