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Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of...
Your Board

The Golden Circle

Board Beet
By Your Board on July 31, 2015

I had the opportunity last week to be in Madison at a work conference. Our board vice-president Ava Hernandez was there too and so it was nice to spend some time with her outside of our Outpost board roles. 

In one of the conference sessions, the Simon Sinek TED Talk about how great leaders inspire action was shown as a reminder about how we can improve the way we talk about our programs.

Sinek’s thesis is that we (as people and corporations) are usually great at talking about “what” we do but not so good at connecting to the purpose of why we do what we do. How many times have you been asked at a party, “What do you do?” rather than, “Why do you do what you do for work?” Sinek believes that if we can connect and start with the why, we can inspire people to action. He illustrates it in his Golden Circle.

This is something that I practice zealously in my day job. My “why” is that I believe that of all the intractable social problems in our state and nation, hunger and food insecurity are the most solvable problems because we already have all of the necessary food and other resources needed to ensure that everybody has access to an adequate, nutritious diet. 

But when I talk about the work of Outpost, I fall into the trap of starting with the “What” and the “How.”

“We specialize in natural and organic products.”

“We have welcoming, small neighborhood style markets.”

“We’re cooperatively owned…no, no it doesn’t mean you have to be a member to shop with us…”

Etc. Etc.

With the exception of the cooperative status, none of the other reasons actually differentiate us or communicate our purpose.

But you know what does?

Our “why.”

And it is simply expressed in our mission, “Outpost exists so that our owners have a healthy, diverse and sustainable community.”

That is the animating purpose for everything that we do - whether it’s to provide access to local, organic and sustainable food for our owners, access to markets for local farmers and food entrepreneurs, better wages for employees, stable community partnerships for projects like the Wellness Commons, new locations to better serve our owners - it’s so that our owners and the community of Milwaukee at-large, have a healthy, diverse, and sustainable place to live.


David Lee

Board President


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