This virtuous cycle depends upon outside perspective to help people see new possibilities which excite them about the future, making them more engaged and raising collective performance.
Purpose is at the center, which acts as a lens for decision-making.
Every visionary’s challenge lies in bringing others along, helping them “see” what doesn’t exist, and inspiring them through a new future. John Schlifske, CEO of Northwestern Mutual, saw a gap in the marketplace, and believed his company should reimagine itself to fill that gap.
Unboundary helped the leadership team see and make sense of signals to illustrate a changing financial world. These experiences, observations, and data acted as both inspiration and proof points in making people believers. We made customers and their emotions omnipresent through ethnographic research, and gave leaders tools and training to become activators with their teams in pursuit of a bold, remarkable future.
Once the "absolutely, positively overnight" package delivery company, FedEx has become a global transportation and logistics powerhouse, made up of four major operating companies: Express, Ground, Freight and Office. Its growth and acquisitions created two challenges: unifying the culture to better enable cohesive solutions, and helping people (even those inside the company) better understand its scope, scale and relevance.
Unboundary worked with Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, to articulate his idea of a Purple Promise — a common commitment across all 400,000 FedEx team members. We also developed the company's first enterprise-wide values.
We then created Access as a thought leadership platform. Access reveals how FedEx connects people with possibility — through a network that connects 98% of global GDP, and through innovations that enable new business models. Ten years on, Access remains the foundational differentiator in the FedEx global brand.
WhiteWave was the first company to develop national brands in the natural and organic food segment. They were pioneers, with no model to follow for scaling such a purpose-driven company. Unboundary helped WhiteWave articulate its purpose — to become the Earth’s favorite food company — and helped the entire organization live into the possibility of creating a different kind of food company. Living into that possibility went beyond capturing hearts and minds, and into the strategy and operations of making the vision a reality. Working across every function of the organization — from C-suite to farm to factory — we helped teams define and commit to how they would adapt to enable the company's purpose.
While FedEx asked for best practices, our response acknowledged our belief in “next practices.” As a result, we got to build the three-day FedEx Inspired Training (FIT) program by asking, “What’s the experience people need to have?” Through discovery conversations, it was clear people wanted FIT to be future-focused. They wanted to learn things that would make them more versatile — more T-shaped. They wanted hands-on exercises, deep debate, and to really get to know their fellow team members. We used outside experts they'd never met, and inside experts who likely sat one cube over. The content sparked new thinking. Team exercises created the chance to rehearse the future. People came away feeling inspired and invested in — and ready to think and work in new ways.