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Impacting The System Positively Is In Our Hands

Impacting The System Positively Is In Our Hands

Intended or not, as business owners and leaders, we will leave a legacy. Each of our organizations has a culture. It may not be articulated or written on the walls, but we all have one. Sometimes, we don't even like the cultures we have, and we wonder what we can do about it.  

Our enterprises are unintentionally contributing to a broken system

Your enterprise (my enterprise) is contributing to the broken social system we are experiencing in this country! "HOW?" You shout. I shout. We are tired of being vilified. We create value and opportunity. How can our enterprises contribute to the social problems we see around us? Things like generational poverty, low literacy, depression, and lack of upward mobility…… how can any of those be because of us?  

As an entrepreneur and 2nd generation business owner, I am as frustrated as anyone about this stuff. But if you can take a deep breath and think about what we do as entrepreneurs, we solve problems for our customers; we get paid to create value for our customers. We hire people because the talents they bring to the workplace help us create that value. So, how can this be problematic? 

Here is my answer: Because we are not trying to solve it. We endure it. We are victimized by it. But we never try to solve it. We have been told that it is someone or some other institution's job -- the schools, the homes, the government. 

But, what if we stepped back and decided to take responsibility -- in small groups -- for parts of the problem? I bet we could improve system outcomes. I bet, in fact, I know we can change outcomes for people that work for us. In fact, we are uniquely positioned in our economy to be the most effective segment at changing some of these outcomes. 

Be intentional about your purpose

I have spent a lot of time on this topic in my life. I believe we overthink it and underaction it. At the end of the day, your culture will be reflective of how you behave and what you model. If you have a purpose, a "why" for your enterprise, how that purpose is experienced by people will define the culture, not putting it on the wall. This is what we can do to contribute to developing a positive social system. 

The important thing for us to contemplate as enterprise leaders is that we have an influence on our workspaces and the people who work for us. I believe that taking some time to be intentional about what that looks like and how people experience it can have a profound difference in the lives of those people.  

Think about that. People spend more of their waking time under the influence of our workplaces than anywhere else. Might we find some really great opportunities to have an impact simply by being more intentional about our workplaces? I will let you ponder that. 

My book The SOURCE is just a model of how we can use the power of our enterprise to do just that. Read it. You will find that some of my "Ah Ha" moments will resonate with you and hopefully inspire you to find points of action in your enterprise or with other like-minded leaders.  


Mark Peters is the Chief Executive Officer of Butterball Farms, Inc., which was nationally recognized as one of The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For(R) from 2018 to 2020 and is America's leading producer of culinary butter and margarine. Author of the book "The Source". Recognized by numerous companies from Ernst and Young to McDonalds for his leadership, Peters is an engaging speaker and storyteller who has addressed TEDx and other audiences. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Recognized by numerous companies from Ernst & Young to McDonalds for his leadership, Peters is an engaging speaker and storyteller who has addressed TED-x and other audiences. He lives in Grand Rapids with his daughter and dog and is an avid diver, boater, biker, and skier.

You may also contact Mark at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.


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