ZingTrain Kicks Off 7th Annual Speaker Series!

ZingTrain’s 7th Annual Speaker Series kicked off August 31st with an engaging and enlightening talk from the renowned management leader, Peter Block. Ranging from personal introspection to the world at large, his talk Creating a Compassionate Economy, revolved around the necessity to eschew traditional methods of measuring personal and economic success for a more holistic and compassionate model.

Ari and Peter at ZingTrain for the 7th Annual Speaker Series

Ari and Peter at ZingTrain for the 7th Annual Speaker Series

Ari introduced Peter Block with his own story of reading his book, The Empowered Manager in the early 1980’s. “The Empowered Manager shifted my thinking a lot,… it allowed me to think about management to get out of what Peter references as patriarchal or parental thinking to more of a peer-to-peer model.”

Ari went on to say how Peter’s writings led him to discover his own beliefs about his role as a leader. “[Peter writes] that the leader isn’t there to meet the expectations of the staff but to challenge people to own their freedom and to own their lives and in many ways I thought that was my responsibility in my work.”

Peter Block also brought friend and modern philosopher Peter Koestenbaum as his guest to the event. Both Block and Koestenbaum no longer frequently travel for speaking engagements, making this an extremely special opportunity for the Speaker Series’ attendees. To many laughs from the audience, Block said:

There’s a great quote I heard once in Russia, ‘Even the past is unpredictable’, and I thought that’s true!

Guests ranging from community activists to entrepreneurs to non-profit employees all packed the room to listen to Block and his unique approach to organizational development, management, and leadership. Guests were audibly surprised by some of Block’s musings on success and engagement.

“Everyone’s waiting on the second great transformation, for the second great revolution and it’s here. That’s what I thought I would talk about. There’s nothing to wait for. It’s here,” Block began. His comments centered on shifting the dominant narratives in the media and society from the idea that there isn’t enough and no one has enough, to a viewpoint of abundance through the lens of his own personal experiences as a corporate management consultant.

This is just one of the many planned speakers for ZingTrain’s seventh season. These speakers are brought by ZingTrain to Ann Arbor to bring their thought-provoking perspectives on business to spark ideas and dialogue.

Regular Speaker Series attendee, Holly Rutt of The Little Flower Co., recently told us:

My favorite thing about the series is how outside of the box the topics are compared to most business “seminars” it feels fresh and cutting edge to be delving into the philosophy/psychology of better business. The focus on servant leadership and open book management- as well as the importance of – self-management really rings true to me as the road to right livelihood and I love having these ZingTrain Speaker Series as many mini reminders to stay the course.

Maggie Bayless, Managing Partner of ZingTrain, has been heavily influenced by both Block and Koestenbaum’s philosophy on management and leadership. She explains further:

Peter Block and Peter Koestenbaum’s writings have deeply informed how we operate here at Zingerman’s—which means they are the basis for many of the organizational recipes and tools that we share through ZingTrain. It was an amazing privilege to host Peter Block for a Speaker Series and to create a venue for Peter Koestenbaum, Peter Block, Ari, Paul and a cross-section of Zingerman’s staff to be in dialogue. I expect this experience to be a highlight in ZingTrain’s and ZIngerman’s history for a long time to come.

Further installments of ZingTrain’s 7th Annual Speaker Series include:
Karissa Thacker on “The Art of Authenticity”
Shawn Murphy on “Optimism – The ‘New’ Leadership Strategy”
And The ChillPill Guys on Getting Going on Your Goals.For more information on these events and to see the whole schedule, please visit ZingTrain’s website.