Zach’s Blog

The Time is Always Now: Introducing

I am excited to announce that I am officially launching a new website:

Why? …to inspire individuals and organizations to deliver their purpose in the world.

How? By using my practical experiences in building purpose-driven, effective, and transformational teams, cultures, and organizations inspired by my training and education in organizational learning, performance, and change.

What? Evidence-based speaking, training, and consulting services and more importantly a place to share resources and research on building sustaining for-profit, non-profit, large, small, formal, and informal organizations that are driven by a sense of Authentic Purpose.

Why Now?

In 2014, Gallup released a poll that found that just 3 out of every 10 employees were engaged in their work. That’s right, 70% of U.S. employees spend 5/7 of their life in organizations they aren’t emotionally invested in.

Bill O’Brien, former insurance CEO, stated in Peter Senge’s “The Fifth Discipline” that work is changing, “The ferment in management will continue until we build oranizations that are more consistent with people’s higher aspirations beyond food, shelter, and belonging.”

The emergent workforce reinforces this trend toward work being more than “just work” and that a sense of social contribution and purpose at every level of the organization is critical to success .

For example, just last year, Forbes published an article “Millennials Work for Purpose Not Paycheck”:

“Organizations who wish to prosper will focus more time on meaning at work, have an organizational purpose and contribution which gives people a sense of satisfaction and a genuine feeling that they are making the world a better place.” 

Through my years working with the future workforce in higher education, that statement resonates with what I have witnessed.

The need of the modern organization to focus “what” they do on “why” they do it has prompted me to share my experiences designing purpose-driven teams and organizations at the organization, group, and individual levels.

The Beginning 

Over the last 9 years, as students have come into my office and my classrooms with big dreams and big ideas, I’ve always had advice.

I would exclaim things like:

“The only difference between those who do things and those who think about doing them is that those who do things, do them…

Invoking Steve Jobs, “Don’t waste your life living someone else’s!”

“The ‘if, then’ argument is an excuse – the future doesn’t exist…”

“The time is always now…”

About two months ago, a former student and now a professional, came into my office for a meeting and asked me, “Zach, how do you create such effective teams? Can you teach me?”

I immediately started reflecting on all of the people I had worked with over the years.

Specifically, I thought of the time I was walking out of my office after 5 p.m., and one of our office staff members was carefully placing copies into a folder for a new student, a typically mundane, repetitive task. Yet, even after hours, while making very close to minimum wage as a part-time employee, she looked surprisingly excited and happy.

“What are you still doing here?” I asked.

“Creating an experience to help someone graduate, Zach!” she said – and she believed it. I could tell.

That has been the atmosphere on every team I have had the opportunity to serve – and the results in terms of performance are dramatic.

Now someone finally asked me, “How do you do it? Teach me!”

I had to ask myself, “What was I doing when I was doing what I was doing well?”

What resulted was two months of deep reflection, research, drawing on white boards and napkins, talking to former team members and asking the question, “Why did/do you care so much about this job?” It has been an exciting learning process.

Almost every response began with, “it gave me purpose” or it “made me feel like I mattered” or “it was a place I could go and feel important.”

All of this led me to create the Authentic Purpose-Driven Organization model depicted below:


It all starts with a transcendence of self to the reason the organization exists in the world, it’s organizational purpose. That is, to put the ambition of  the organization above one’s own. Then, the behaviors and processes created by those individuals will, deductively, also be driven by the organization’s purpose. It is the very effects of delivering this purpose in the world that empowers, engages, energizes, and ennobles individuals to continue to commit to this purpose, thus maintaining a cycle of commitment and engagement (and results).

When I shared this with the former student, she asked me a pointed question, “Why aren’t you sharing this more widely with other organizations? People need to hear this!”

She was right.

As I started murmuring an excuse, my own advice crept into my mind, “The time is always now.”

So, over the next two months, in conjunction with launching I will be starting a five part series that delves deeper into each of the concepts:

  1. A Higher Organizational Purpose
  2. Self-Transcendence
  3. Purpose-Driven Behaviors
  4. Delivering Purpose
  5. The Effects of a Higher Organizational Purpose on Individuals

It is my hope that this series will serve as a catalyst for your own organization. As I begin to share what I have learned, please reach out to me if I can be of service to you and your organization.

– Zach

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