Pursuit of Excellence: Focus on People

Business Success Powered by Employees.

Too often in today’s business world companies have a win at all costs mentality and a sole focus on the bottom line. Shareholders are the focus, not employees, leading to consequences such as burnt-out and overly stretched workers and elimination of jobs through downsizing and outsourcing. Yet, what if a business could actually find success by doing good by and leveraging its employees to their fullest potential? That’s exactly what these three examples demonstrate—that focusing on employees, rather than just the bottom line, can be good for all parties.

New Seasons Market, in Portland, Oregon, was founded based on a core set of values, one being to deliver excellent customer service by empowering its employees. This grocery chain, the first to be certified as a B Corporation, has succeeded and grown because of these values and its focus on customer service enabled by trusting their employees to “just say yes” to customers. This principle is modeled by senior leaders who work in the stores themselves and is reinforced through other HR programs. Read more on Forbes >

Who would have thought that the fast casual restaurant chain Chili’s would engender so much enthusiasm from its employees to the point that for some it becomes like family. But that’s what Daniel Riley describes in his July article in GQ featuring the company’s “super-trainers” who educate new employees for restaurant openings on the Chili’s way. The article’s coverage suggests that Chili’s is a company that knows how to care for and manage its employees, offering a variety of career opportunities for those who want to succeed and build a career at the company. Read more on GQ >

Patagonia, ever a force for unconventional, “do the right thing” business practices, supports its employees with onsite child care, knowing that it’s good for its employees and their families, while also being good for business. Read from Patagonia’s CEO herself on why this practice just makes good sense. Read more on Fast Company >

Business success does not simply come from thinking of employees as numbers and needing to drive efficiency gains. Pursuing excellence through offering employees humanity, trust, and opportunity can have significant benefits both for the business and its employees’ lives.



Broughton, Anne Claire. “How One Grocery Store Chain Put People First As They Scaled,”

Forbes, July 11, 2016.


Marcario, Rose. Patagonia’s CEO Explains How To Make On-Site Child Care Pay For Itself,” Fast Company, August 15, 2016.


Riley, Daniel. “Inside the Church of Chili’s,” GQ, July 5, 2016.


Categories: Pursuit of Excellence

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