Businesses that outperform others in the market are purpose-driven organisations.
They seek to create value amongst all stakeholder groups and in these businesses; people come to work every-day knowing that they are adding value to all these communities including their colleagues, customers, suppliers, communities, shareholders and environment.
As part of the research for my book – I interviewed and read about a number of companies who walk the talk on conscious and sustainable business practices that motivate and inspire high performance in their teams. So…for the next few weeks, I’m going to bring you’re their stories, starting with Stone & Wood.
I first came across this much loved brand as a punter (I’m quite impartial to their Pacific Ale and I’m not typically a beer drinker). But I really came to know and understand them when I worked closely with their leadership group including the Fermentum board and management teams, delivering a program that developed the capabilities of leaders to set clear standards, give great feedback, and coach their people.
I worked closely with co-Founder Jamie Cook, CEO Ben Summons, and head of people & culture – Elise Skinner – to design a program that reflected their values and embedded the leadership habits they knew maintained their high performance culture. As a performance coach – it was wonderful to work with a group of people so passionate and energetic about their brand; as well as truly enthusiastic about training and development opportunities.
Stone & Wood Brewing Company is an independent brewer based Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. Founded by three former colleagues at Carlton & United Breweries in 2008, Jamie Cook, Brad Rogers and Ross Jurisich were inspired by the idea of creating a village brewery with the vision of building a conscious business.
To keep themselves focused on this vision, they created what they called the Stone & Wood Family Wheel. The Family Wheel is a circle with seven segments pictured like seven slices of pie, each one representing a key stakeholder group: community, environment, team, suppliers, drinkers, customers and shareholders.
Stone & Wood use the wheel to guide strategy creation – ensuring they have strategies in place that enable them to add value to every stakeholder group. This process not only keeps them accountable to their vision, but connected to and relevant in their market.
When I asked Jamie about how he and his co-founders inspired high performance, he communicated the importance of starting with a clear purpose.
Jamie: So very early days, when we developed our purpose statement, which was very much around establishing a sustainable brewing business that develops, embraces and adds value to its communities, and that being all of the communities surrounding the business … so the team, suppliers, customers, drinkers, shareholders, community, and the environment. We go to work every day to try and add value to all of those communities. So people are focused not just on performing, but on adding value and creating value in those relationships.
In terms of maintaining high performance, Jamie also stressed the importance of setting high benchmarks:
Jamie: In terms of performance and people making sure they’re on mission or on target, I guess you’ve got to be a little bit of an attention to detail freak and set high standards. I’ve had feedback over the years, you’re a tough taskmaster or you set high standards, but at the end of the day, if you don’t do that, then you don’t create a great business, in my view. So yeah, just good enough isn’t good enough. And I think people have that same perspective in the business.
For standards to be effective, we must both role model the standards expected and explain them in clear, measurable terms.
Jamie also talked about the importance of identifying and leveraging people’s strengths –helping them into roles that they both perform well and genuinely enjoy doing. He called this finding their ‘sweet spot’.
Jamie: If someone’s not performing as well as they should, potentially it’s because they’re not actually into what they’re doing. Sometimes people are high performing in a role, but they’re actually not very happy. It’s that whole piece around, some people get put into a role because this is one of their strengths, but it’s not necessarily something that they get enjoyment out of. And that really is stressful for people. And then it shows in their behaviour. They might be high performing, but their behaviours are impacted by it. So it’s making sure people are in their right sweet spot, where they perform well and they also enjoy it.
Stone & Wood’s is a recent Australian success story. Still privately owned, they are now part of The Fermentum Group of businesses, including IPA specialist brand Fixation, Granite Belt Cider Co, farmhouse ale brand Forest For The Trees and Square Keg, a sales and distribution company. Dun & Bradstreet reported Fermentum annual revenue in 2019 just shy of AUD$60M. With their 146 employees, they have national distribution and two purpose built breweries – the ‘big’ brewery in Murwillumbah and their spiritual tasting house and hub office in Byron Bay.
Fermentum group CEO, Ben Summons, was interviewed this year in CEO magazine as saying that “I’ve never been anywhere like here….The consistency of values aligned with passion means we collectively love what we do, and this creates a real power – it’s like one plus one equals three.”
If you want to understand the principles and practices the drive high performance; I’ve mapped clear and simple systems for performance it in my book; Purpose, Passion & Performance. Grab your copy today.