Being On Purpose  – ep.125

Leveraging Collective Ethics and Innovation – ep.124
February 1, 2024
Celebrating Meaningful Connections  – ep.126
February 15, 2024

Best-selling author and CEO of Unity Labs Brandon Peele shares his work consulting global organizations in integrating a purpose-led leadership approach into their company culture and key steps to reactivating our purpose.

Brandon Peele (he/him) is a best-selling author, the CEO of Unity Lab, and an expert in purpose, leadership, and culture change. He’s trusted as a keynote speaker, consultant and program leader by organizations such as Google, Harvard Business School, Johnson & Johnson, Stanford University, JDRF, Morgan Stanley, U.S. Marine Corps, YPO, University of California – Berkeley, Vistage, Forum for Workplace Inclusion, LinkedIn, the U.S. Navy, Slalom Consulting, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the University of Minnesota.

He is the author of Purpose Work Nation (2022), The Purpose Field Guide (2019), and Planet on Purpose (2018), and co-author of Purpose Rising (2017) and The Purpose Blueprint (2015). His work has been featured by news organizations such as USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, the US Business Journal, and Forbes.

Brandon holds an MBA in Leadership from Columbia Business School, is an Imperative Certified Purpose Leader (TM), a Citizen University Fellow, a Top 50 Purpose ESG Leader, and serves on the Council of the Global Purpose Leaders.



#Kwanzaaeveryday #Kwanzaa #Kuumba 

Melysa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melissa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started.

Brandon Peele is a bestselling author, CEO of Unity Lab and an expert in purpose leadership and culture change. He’s trusted as a keynote speaker, consultant, program leader, and has worked with organizations such as Google, Harvard Business School, Johnson and Johnson, Stanford University, Morgan Stanley, US Marine Corps, YPO, university of California, Berkeley, Vistage Forum for Workplace. I could go on and on LinkedIn, US Navy, the US Coast Guard, the University of Minnesota. He’s the author of Purpose Work Nation, the Purpose Field Guide and Planet on Purpose, and is the co-author of Purpose Rising and The Purpose Blueprint. His work has been featured by news organizations such as USA Today, US News World Report, and he holds an MBA in leadership from Columbia Business School. He is an imperative certified purpose leader, a citizen university fellow, a top 50 purpose ESG leader, and serves on the Council of the Global Purpose Leaders.

I am extremely excited to welcome Brandon Peele, and for those of you who listened to T Mark Meyer maybe a few weeks ago who talked about being authentic, this is another area of work when it comes to yourself. So how do you become authentic? You start to work on your own purpose, and so I am having this wonderful conversation with Brandon and I know you will get so much out of it. And for those of you that haven’t liked and subscribed, I am always looking for subscribers. If you’d like to join my newsletter, you can go to melissa, spelled M-E-L-Y-S-S-A-B-E Enjoy the jolly podcast. Okay, I’m excited again. Every week I start the podcast and I say how excited I am because I get to meet and I know that there is brilliance in store because of all the people that I have been able to meet, and this week is no exception. We have Brandon Peel and you’re going to tell us a lot about DEI and Unity Labs, and he’s an author. He’s all that. I’m excited to talk to you and especially, I just did a podcast a few weeks ago on just the frustration of practitioners who are in the space doing DEI work, and there are certainly things that can be done, the solutions that can be made. And I know you have done some wonderful things and I love celebrating people that are doing the work, so thank you for joining me.

Brandon Peele:  Pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Melysa Barrett:  But I always want to start because I find it so interesting to figure out how did you get to where you are today and what does that journey look like for you?

Brandon Peele:  How long do we have?

Melysa Barrett:  As long as you want. Well,

Brandon Peele:  I will try to share things that will be most germane to what we’re going to hopefully explore today, but I was raised in the Midwest as a just basic kind of suburban white kid in the burbs, and it was pretty boring. It was just like, go to school, get good grades, go to college, marry your college sweetheart, move her out to the burbs, make some more humans, work for 40 years, die on a golf course. And that was just kind of what I was witnessing in front of me. And it’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that I was like, why is everyone doing the exact same thing? Aren’t we supposed to be individuals and there’s supposed to be some adventure or creativity in life, but I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to about this. It was just I didn’t know what purpose meant. I didn’t know really why life was the way it was where I lived, and so different on the other side of the tracks, and there was a lot that just wasn’t even talked about. So pretty much after college, even though I looked good on paper and went into venture capital, investment banking, startups, all that stuff, I mean, I was a mess. I was so unfulfilled. It was so, I don’t know, meaningless moving money around for what

A lot of folks, especially with investment banking paychecks. I threw a lot of that at women, alcohol and drugs. And by the time I think I was 26, 27, I’d been arrested in six different states. Oh wow. I went for it. You

Melysa Barrett:  Were the bad boy.

Brandon Peele:  I don’t know if I was a bad boy. I just tried to find out where the line was and then crossed it.

Melysa Barrett:  Okay, alright.

Brandon Peele:  All that fine, fun, silly, stupid, misspent youth stuff. But in my late twenties when I was in grad school, had the opportunity to do some inner work. So there’s a program that was offered in my MBA program and I quickly got how profoundly dumb I was not just ignorant about life, but that everything I knew did not matter. I knew Excel, PowerPoint and how to party. That was it. Nothing else. I knew nothing about any of the disciplines, the domains that reveal what it means to be a human being. I knew nothing about poetry, philosophy, spirituality, heard of religion, I mean nothing. And so here I am being invited like, oh, I’ll go to Wall Street or go to consulting firm. I’m like, do any of you know why you exist?

Melysa Barrett:  I love it.

Brandon Peele:  So basically after grad school, I moved out to the Bay Area, worked with a number of different social enterprises, but the accent of my attention was on inner growth by personal spiritual leadership developments. So just goblin of programs, landmark work, men’s work, a pasta, meditation, therapy, hallucinogens burning that just the whole Bay Area kind of find yourself thing. And it was all good. And I would say seven years of just doing lots of really cool programs and gurus and therapists and coaches and all that. But it wasn’t until my early thirties that I discovered this body work called Purpose Work, and that was where things shifted for me. I really got that I’m here for something that matters and I need to get serious real quick about it. For basically the last 12 years, purpose has been the underlying theme now as it intersects with what inclusion all created equal the purpose of the United States that came online in 2020. We talked a couple days ago when George Floyd was murdered. I was like, I got my summons. Put your shoulder in the wheel deal. It’s time. I’ll

Melysa Barrett:  Pause there. I thought it was really interesting the way you said it though. It was almost like your call to action, you were like, I didn’t realize it was my fight until it became real then, which I think a lot of people probably felt, it was kind like, whoa, there two different humanities going on, what’s going on? And I know I felt that where I was with people just going like, is this the world you live in? Kind of thing. And we walk around, it’s like, yeah, this is how we live. So it was interesting that for you, it was an inflection point and it was also an inflection point for me in terms of just saying, I want to do something different. And my husband having passed away, it’s kind of like, what is my purpose now? I’m no longer part of a couple. What is my purpose now that I’m here? So it’s interesting that you being a certified purpose leader that you are and authoring all these books on purpose. I mean, tell me a little bit about being an expert in purpose leadership and culture change.

Brandon Peele:  I want to say that I believe purpose is a civil right, that it intersects with everything that we care about, everything that’s broken in our economy in this world. Just to kind frame this a little bit, I didn’t have a purpose guide growing up. My teachers and pretty weren’t talking to me about purpose. My parents, nobody was like, Hey, you need to figure out what is yours to do here. Now they’re just like, who makes money work? Go back some money and go to work die on a golf course. So without purpose, I shared what I put in my purpose sized hole, a bunch of drugs, girls and alcohol, but everyone else is doing the same thing. Who doesn’t have a strong sense? It’s this hungry ghost. You just keep trying to put things in there that will cohere the world or numb you out or distract you or whatever it is. So it’s like take a conspiracy, take a pill, watch a Netflix series, just all this stuff is filling this void.

Melysa Barrett:  Yes.

Brandon Peele:  But the thing is, we still end up developing identities even without purpose. The thing is, what informs those identities are family trauma, systemic inequity, race, gender, homophobia, all that stuff is what is forming who people believe that they are. So why I am so fricking nuts about purpose, and we’ll talk about the DI ator in a second, is that it liberates people from those identities from, it’s not that it heals all your trauma, but at least gives you something to fight for. Like, oh yeah, this is who I am. That’s why I have to heal all this stuff with mom and dad and auntie and yes. So that’s why I’m like, this is civil, right. This needs to be everywhere. And I don’t want to live in a world where all these identities are formed by racism, sexism, homophobia. I want to live in a world where these identities are true, people get who they are underneath a race, gender, sexuality idea

Melysa Barrett:  I had Love it. That’d be awesome.

Brandon Peele:  Oh yeah.

Melysa Barrett:  And I think it’s interesting because I was having some conversations with some folks the other day, and people are, or I should say, some companies are even scared to use the words diversity, equity, and inclusion now. And they feel like with lawsuits that are coming with the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, why do I even need to do anything with DEI? And I think what’s really exciting for me about some of the things that you do with Unity Lab is that you really have a focus on how to utilize those purpose-driven employees and retain them and really activate their purpose so that their sense of belonging is there. I think a lot of companies miss the opportunity because they’re stuck on diversity, equity, and inclusion words as opposed to actually connecting their company’s purpose with their employee’s purpose. Do you find that a lot or how do you, and I guess with your work in activating people, and I know you’ve written, you’ve authored several books. I’m anxious for you to, when you talk about, I think one of your books is called Purpose Work Nation, and the other one is Planet on Purpose, if I remember right. And you have, oh no, you have more than that. You got two more Purpose, purpose Rising and The Purpose Blueprint

Brandon Peele:  And the Purpose Field Guide

Melysa Barrett:  And the Purpose Field Guide. See? So you can’t tell me you’re not an expert on purpose.

Brandon Peele:  Well, I’m a guy who knows how to put words on a page, but we’ll see.

Melysa Barrett:  Well, so tell me, and I mean in relation to DEI, and I think you also do some work on ESG as well, environmental social governance. So how does all that play together when it comes to

Brandon Peele:  Purpose? So a bunch of really cool ways, let me just pull purpose out of the conversation for a second. Okay. I am Jim Smith. I run finance. I’ve not done any inner work. I get all my fulfillment from watching the Niners playing with my kids. That’s me. And the recruiters aren’t calling. They were calling five years ago. There’s all this stuff going on in society around ESG de polarization. And then I get invited to go sit into an anti-discrimination training or an unconscious bias training. So I’m like, okay, well, yeah, I’m aligned. Yeah, I don’t believe in discrimination or bias, probably I’ll have it. And let’s just say, yeah, the world’s best DEI trainer in there who just boom blows minds and folks are getting like, wow, I just really, I get my biases. I get the impact of my actions on others that don’t look like me and make love like me and pee like me. And let’s just say that that one hour or half day or full day thing is just like lows. This guy’s mind. His identity isn’t at stake yet. It’s just like he got something intellectually. And research shows that even when people do have these cathartic moments and workshops, the behavior and beliefs revert back within 24 hours. Now, if he was in an e-learning program, he would have a five to 15% chance of completing the program.

And let’s go back to a full day thing. Let’s say he has this awesome thing seven days after that. He’s already forgotten 90% of everything that happened on that day. That’s the world that we’re living in right now. And that’s when it goes well. That’s what happens. So the reason that that purpose matters, and the way in which we activate it with social learning, small, diverse groups, but primarily purpose is that it affects that identity shift from that socialized self to the authentic self. They get their values, what they care about, the vision for the world that they want to create, what they’re here to do, how they’re uniquely called to transform it. And that has nothing to do with their race, their career, their resume, their voting pattern, their sexuality, any of that. So that identity is not controversial. It’s usually a very beautiful thing like, oh, I create a world of peace and prosperity and my values are compassion and creativity and courage. Nobody’s got this nasty ass purpose statement be number one, kill others, dominate.

Melysa Barrett:  No, we hope not. Anyway. Yeah,

Brandon Peele:  No, honestly, I’ve yet to see one. The thousands of people have been through this. They’re all beautiful. They’re all, I’ve done this in jails. People are like, I mean, the beauty in these hearts is amazing. So why this matters for DEI, if people don’t have a sense of their own purpose, everything that happens, DEI related doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of occurring as self-expression. It’s always something that the experience they did that happened to ’em, that got forced down through e-learning workshop, whatever, or an app, EI apps. So me, Jim Smith, I could never relate to inclusion as self-expression unless I know who I am first. Inclusion is something that I should do, I have to do if I want to get ahead, blah, blah, blah, want to run diverse teams, I need to do this. But it’s not like it’s who I am. I believe in the inherent dignity of all life. I stand for everyone on my team to have all the resources they need to fulfill their potential. Because when you activate your own sense of purpose, you recognize that everybody else has that same latent potential that if you can help them activate it, that wow, what kind of world are we living in?

Melysa Barrett:  Yes.

Brandon Peele:  So that’s why I keep beating this purpose drum. Every time I talk to a leader or anyone in the end, I’m like, if you don’t activate purpose, everything that you do is not going to stick. Not going to stick. Yeah.

Melysa Barrett:  Well, and I think it’s interesting because we talk a lot about structure and eliminating barriers and all of those things. And I love this conversation because I spend a lot of time with people that are really focused on neurolinguistic programming and levels of change and identity really is one of the deepest, and you can change your environment, you can change your behavior, et cetera. But when you’re talking about your identity, I mean, you got to go levels up to really kind of do that inner work. And I think there are, and I’ll even, I’ll claim it myself, don’t know that I even began to do the inner work until after my husband passed away seven years ago. Because I think a lot of times you get so caught up in just the activity that you never turn it on yourself. You know what I mean?

To really kind of figure out, and I always thought I had a purpose. I mean, there were things that I was like, this is me, this is what I’m doing. But when you find your legs cut off, I mean, because when your husband dies, I think you kind of like, what am I doing in my life? And so for me it was like, okay, I need to really look inside and figure out what am I here for? What do I want to do? Because I think working as a couple, as a parent, as a grandparent, that’s a different sense of identity than you actually finding your own purpose. And so how do you think people find their purpose though? I mean, I think you mentioned you got activated in some form or fashion in different ways. But I mean, if you’re a person like me who’s like, okay, what am I doing? Where do you even start?

Brandon Peele:  So first, lemme just share. Most people come to the purpose question in a similar way that you did. It’s through loss, through some kind of bottoming out death, divorce, they get fired, they wrap their DUI wrap the car around a pole. Most folks don’t come into the question from a place. Everything’s going good. And especially for men and white men who for whom this world was built and designed, we tend to think about the world in terms of hardware. If something doesn’t feel good, we need a new wife, need an apartment, need a new job car. And you can refresh those for decades before you realize that you’re the asshole,

Melysa Barrett:  Right?

Brandon Peele:  Start to swear. So at some point, somebody has to get that there’s a software issue, there’s operating system level issue. And for folks for whom this world was not built, women people of color, bt, QIA plus folks, they actually tend to be much more willing and eager to play with the software. Like, oh yeah, I’ll go to therapy, or I’ll go on this meditation retreat. Something ain’t right. Why am I so unhappy all the time? So the first thing is somebody has to have an earnest desire to really find it. Now, we don’t share any of that with our corporate clients. All we say is the key to fulfilling career, longer tenures, productivity, higher levels of innovation, more effective leadership is when people activate a sense of purpose. If you want to have a healthy career, more successful career, more fulfilling career, do this program.

So folks will then opt into it. We don’t say, we don’t have to beat ’em down. Nothing. You’re going to find yourself. But that being said, outside of a context where somebody hands it to you, our clients, they hand it to their employees. Most folks are on their own. So the process, and again, this is not mine, this is just what the field has more or less discovered, is what works is kind of like in four phases. And if you want to go deeper on this, Tim Kelly who wrote The Forward, my book, planted on Purpose, his book True Purpose is awesome. And it kind of tells you about these four phases, but almost every other guide, all my other colleagues, they all have more or less these same steps. So the part of you that knows your purpose is not the part of you who moves to the world. Let’s call that your ego or your personality.

That part, it’s only job is to keep the wheels on the bus, keep you from getting hit by a bus, keep you from taking unnecessary risks, from looking bad. Its job is just like, lock it up, Melissa. That part does not want your freak fly. It’s just stay on the path. Yeah, keep the train on the track, the part that does know your purpose. We can call that your higher self, your soul, whatever, but it’s part of you and it knows. But this part over here isn’t that interested in it. So I’m just going to lay that as a foundation for what happens in these four stages. So in the first stage, we actually asked the ego, so ask Melissa what most fulfills her?

What are the biggest lessons she’s had in her life? Very much coaching, personal development type questions. Kind of get the general area. That purpose might be lying because ego, it knows something about the soul. It would prefer the soul just went away. But it was like, oh yeah, I think pretty much purpose is in this direction. We also do some in that first stage, asking people who know you really well and who’ve seen you in a bunch of different contexts, personal, professional, spiritual, romantic, all that, how they see who you are, how you show up your values, what are the ways you contribute all that. And then we have all this rich data that the ego that this is like, wow, that’s just cool. And then the next thought that you go has is like, oh, this looks dangerous. If I actually step into this, I’m going to be the weirdo, right?

I’ll lose my job, lose my family, lose my blah, blah, blah, blah. So the second stage is actually dissecting that ego. So I’m going to use Tim’s words here to your critic, your skeptic, your image consultant, your wounded child, your risk manager, and getting to know them and inviting them or say, once you get to know each of them, ask them what they need to step away so that you can actually have a direct conversation with soul. So that’s stage two. Stage three is that direct conversation. So much of exercise is there, and then stage four is integration. So that is the individual purpose journey. We don’t do anything beyond stage one in our work with Unity Lab. That’s what I do with executives and retreats and one-on-one stuff.

Melysa Barrett:  But that’s really the inner work though, right? You don’t really even know what you want, where you leave folks. Do you expect that they go to stage two, three, and four, or how does that work

Brandon Peele:  With Unity Lab? No, we tell ’em it exists. If you want to go deeper, go to the global purpose leaders, go find a guide, go work with them. There’s also, are you familiar with positive intelligence?

Melysa Barrett:  I think we talked about it the other day.

Brandon Peele:  Yeah, we may have talked about it, but that’s another less intense way to look at these inner parts and how they relate to your purpose, your soul. But if you want guaranteed results, work with somebody, one-on-one. But for the most part, what we found is that once people just have a sense of what their purpose statement is, that they can then start to make some pretty powerful choices, decisions in their life. So in the life wheel, like home health, finances, relationships, work, all that kind of stuff, they can say like, alright, is that area aligned with my purpose or not? So they can start to actualize it even though they haven’t done the deep work of understanding all their wounds, stories, limiting beliefs, all that kind of stuff that these parts. Right.

Melysa Barrett:  Awesome. Wow, that’s awesome. So then in terms of, because I find all the work that you’ve done with respect to your books and all, and I can’t wait to get them because I am ordering, because I’m really interested in this. I just had a conversation with Mark Meyer regarding authenticity and being your authentic self. So to me it was like, oh, purpose. That’s like, I mean, how you become authentic. You have to know who you are first and answer some of these questions on purpose, which kind of gives you that authenticity because then it’s like you actually know who you are. So you have another book that you’re working on, or is it about to come out?

Brandon Peele:  My hope is it’ll be out in March, April.

Melysa Barrett:  Oh, that’s like right around the corner.

Brandon Peele:  That’s my hope. We’ll see. We’ll see. I could discover some big problems. I’m al to fix, but that is my hope.

Melysa Barrett:  Hopefully not, hopefully not. And it is also in the same vein on purpose, or

Brandon Peele:  It is probably the weirdest book I’ve ever written, really. So it is attempting to ignite a spiritual revolution in the United States

Where we could relate to the powerful, sacred, liberating function of our nation’s purpose as our own to have a spiritual connection. Yeah, I want to live in a world where all are created equal, and not just inseminated, but actually have the resources and the rights they need to be created over three decades. I want to live in a world where everyone has everything they need to fulfill life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, where we, as King talked about, the mountaintop is one of Eum. It’s like recognizing the divinity, loving each other as much as ourselves. And so it is not unaligned with DEI inequity, but it is definitely taking a deeper cut at what it means to be an American. How we going to spiritually admit to this marriage, or are we out?

Melysa Barrett:  I love it. Well, that sounds like you might want to run for office soon.

Brandon Peele:  A lot of people say that.

Melysa Barrett:  I am like, wow, we need more people like you up in the office over there.

Brandon Peele:  Well, we do. And in the current conditions, even great folks, we’ve seen it cycl after cycle. The best folks don’t get in. So I’m sober to that fact, and I’m not going to waste my time and a bunch of people’s time and money to try to win some office so I can achieve nothing because the system’s screwed up. And

Melysa Barrett:  Well, let’s hope we learn. I know we have important elections coming up, so hopefully we will have, what do you mean people voting?

Brandon Peele:  Is there one this year?

Melysa Barrett:  Yeah. You think, oh my gosh. So this is really interesting to me. So then now the one thing that I, and I don’t know if you wanted to go deeper into some of this. I noticed, I think you have a bison on your hat, do you not?

Brandon Peele:  I do.

Melysa Barrett:  And we were having a really interesting conversation about the bison. So I was hoping you could talk a little bit about in some of my DEI work, I actually use animals to make particular points. And we were having a whole conversation about the bison that I found interesting.

Brandon Peele:  This animal is our national mammal. Obama cited into law with a bipartisan coalition. Remember, things were divided back then too. We couldn’t get anything passed along with the Intertribal buffalo council. And they said, we’re going to name this animal as our nation’s mammal Now. I remember seeing it. It was deep in the New York Times. I was like, oh, that’s kind of interesting. I’ve got a special connection with the bison. Now the nation does. It’s really interesting. We almost killed them. We almost literally wiped them out.

And they’re back to a few hundred thousand now, or maybe a few million. I don’t know which. But that’s really interesting. And so as I shared with you a couple days ago, after George’s murder began writing and about the purpose of the United States and holding this bison in juxtaposition with the eagle, right? Yep. So eagle or national bird swoops down from on its safe’s secluded perch. It’s the gated community of the natural world. It swoops down to steal, scavenge, hunt and fly back to its perch to enjoy the roots of its exploits and the distribution of power and wealth in the United States. It’s wide on top, ground and bottom.

Kind of weird that we chose that to worship and a fricking slap on all of our buildings and currency, like, wait a minute, that’s who we’re, I mean, obviously it is true. We did a lot of that stuff. Native genocide, bison slavery or slavery, all this stuff that’s part of us too. And yet juxtapose with this bison or national mammal? Well, a, it’s a mammal like us. It’s a herd species, but its behavior is so much more generative, a much better match for our nation’s purpose. It is a keystone species. So it leaves every prairie, every forest better than I found it through its play, it’s wallowing, it’s stampeding, all that kind of stuff. It actually makes that area, that ecosystem more biologically resilient, diverse. When was the last time America left any place better than it found it?

Melysa Barrett:  Now, look, my mom said, just be silent if you No,

Brandon Peele:  And it’s also inclusive. It shares close space, but your moose, bison, elk, it is not like, this is my valley leave. Go to the other valley. That’s the animal valley over there, and that’s the Bear valley. And that’s like, no, dude, it’s plenty chill. Let’s enjoy the stream, the fish, the whatever together. It’s courageous. It runs into a storm to get through it quicker versus cattle that run away. So another important value here. We’ve got a lot of stuff to face. We’ve got systemic racism, we’ve got reparations, we’ve got native genocide, we’ve got obviously climate crisis. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that’s going to take real adults with lots of courage to fix. And so those are just three of the eight or so bison ethics that I articulate. But my belief is that let’s be bison, let’s be like that. And there’s a pathway for that towards that. Activate our personal purpose, create a sense of belonging, build real community, and then we can actually be bison and have the country we all want to live in.

Melysa Barrett:  I love it. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Yeah, I want to live in that country.

Brandon Peele:  Well, you can actually, if you take all crit equal eum life pursuit of happiness, and you apply the data on it, there’s like 12 other countries that do it way better than us. You can leave anytime and go,

Melysa Barrett:  Well, can you send me the list? I need to find out where they are.

Brandon Peele:  I think it’s basically, it’s the inequality adjusted human development index from the un. So you just look at where the United States is. Everybody else is way better than us. Okay. Not everybody, but a number.

Melysa Barrett:  All right. People might be hearing the jolly podcast and Melissa will be remote from somewhere else. No, that’s awesome. So interesting. So interesting. So then in terms of just some of the things that you have been doing, even just focusing on this first phase that you talked about. I mean, clearly you can see increases in retention and inclusion and engagement and all of that, even though you’re only at phase one. So why aren’t more companies really doing some of this?

Brandon Peele:  It’s interesting. I was at a conference in December on AI, and they like three x return on ai. I’m like, there’s a 40 x return on purpose and belonging. Why are we even talking about this thing that has all these negative externalities? What the heck? And I was just being me. I was like, why are we even talking about this? There’s actually real things to do here. We have grownup problems. And they said, well, that stuff seems hard. I’m like, okay, it might seem hard and you are welcome to take that, but it’s not. Here’s actually how it happens. And so I think right now it exists so far out of the current paradigm and the current paradigm being one of domination, exploitation, extraction, and so to consider that individuals have a purpose, violates that worldview that if they bring that to work, they’ll be more creative, productive, innovative, happy longer 10 years violates that worldview. So why hasn’t it happened? Well, there just frankly aren’t enough companies that are humanistic from go. There’s only what, three, 4,000 B corps companies, there’s maybe the same amount of 1% for the planet. There aren’t that many companies that have aspired to anything greater than following the law

Melysa Barrett:  And making some profit.

Brandon Peele:  Just make money don’t get caught is basically how 99% of the economy works. And that would be fine. I could understand that if this was 1982, but it’s 2023 when two thirds of folks want equitable inclusive workspaces. Two thirds of folks want sustainable supply chains. The world is saying cut the shit corporate America, be a grownup, make an honest profit, deliver a good product, and everyone’s like, I only got five years left to retirement. I’m going to kick the can.

Melysa Barrett:  Right? I keep hearing that whole kick the can down the road thing. It’s like it’s kind of annoying because I mean, I think about what my parents went through during the sixties. I mean, they were in their prime back then and my grandparents before them. And so now I kind of go, wow, okay, what are my grandkids and their kids going to be dealing with the same thing? It’s really frustrating. So give me your best words of advice when it comes to folks that are working in the space or what could we be doing better? Are there some solutions we should be focused on?

Brandon Peele:  Well, I articulate a bunch of this stuff that’s going wrong in DEIL and D, wellness and Purpose Work Nation. And to your listeners out there work in those fields or related, I’m going to say something. You’re not going to like, you’re part of the problem, not you, Melissa, but what I’m sharing is that almost everybody in these fields is thinking about point solutions for symptoms of a problem. They’re like, alright, we need an app because folks aren’t getting on the treadmill enough and we want to give them point system and coupons for blah, blah, blah. We’re so far behind on our DEI stuff. Let’s do more anti-discrimination training. Yeah, let’s go visit HBCUs. Let’s do these point things and it’s better than nothing. Maybe, I don’t know. Let’s celebrate this day. Let’s celebrate that. There’s a bunch of stuff that is just like point solution. You got to look at the deeper problem. A deeper problem is that we’re all traumatized. Nobody knows who they are, and we’re all afraid of each other and we’re sabotaging everything. So we’ve got to get down to the belief and behavior change, and that’s where the purpose conversation is.

Melysa Barrett:  So what do you think about this whole view of what is it? I don’t want them to have it because they’ll take it away from me. You have a lot of leaders out there that are like, oh no, I don’t want to be diverse because then I got to give away my stuff. Or that whole scarcity mentality, even though the world is becoming much more diverse and just the broader view of people in general. I mean, there are lots of people, a lot less of them look like you. And so it just strikes me as, I mean, what are we doing? So I love the fact that you’re kind of taking a spiritual look to kind of go, let’s even go deeper now that you even know your purpose. Let’s really get to the root, which I think everything kind of goes back to that the intelligent, the one true defining God of our origin. So I think it, it’s pretty awesome that you are taking that level and going deep.

Brandon Peele:  I got no other choice. Everything else I’ve tried doesn’t work.

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, you look pretty good out there outside hanging out, so what are you going to do? So, awesome. Well, so what’s next for you, Brandon? I mean, you talked about the book coming out. I know you are a speaker, consultant, program leader. I mean, you work with a lot of different companies and I think universities and all sorts of places. Are there things that in a brief way, is there something that you next steps, what should people be thinking about?

Brandon Peele:  Well, I mean in terms of my work, I can share on that, but what I strongly urge other folks who are listening to this and do some purpose work yourself, because it’s one thing to talk about it. You read the research on it, got lots of books on that. Lots of other people do too. To experience it. Once you experience the transformative power of it, you’ll be like, of course that’s what they’re talking about. That’s why this is the key to equity, to flourishing, to peace, to healing. That’s why. So do whatever you got to do. Get yourself some purpose. In terms of me, I want this book to be good, so I’m sewing it up and researching it and getting feedback and all this kind of stuff. But my BAG, my wild crazy idea, assuming I get this book in good enough shape by March, April, is a flap to Seattle and take Amtrak all across the country doing these engagements where we’re inviting people to step into bison versus eagle. Oh, nice. Yeah. It basically start to play with the purpose of the United States, like bison eagle, and maybe it’ll have some effect on the election, maybe it won’t. Maybe it’ll be the last time we can ever travel safely across the country. Maybe it won’t

Melyssa Barrett:  As part of the United States. No. Yeah,

Brandon Peele:  It could literally be Amtrak stopped by Amtrak, not I’m welcome there.

Melyssa Barrett:  Right.

Brandon Peele:  But yeah, I mean, I want to do that. And so if you’re interested in that and having some deeper conversation about what it means to be an American, send me on LinkedIn, all that kind of stuff, and I’ll be sharing more about that as it develops.

Melyssa Barrett:  That’s awesome. I love it. I think there are a lot of people out there that have shifted the definition of what it means to be American, and I love the fact that you’re like, no, let me tell you what being an American is. So I think it’s awesome that you can reshape what that looks like on a different level when you start thinking about the eagle and the bison. So pretty cool. Very cool. Very cool. All right. Well, I know I could probably just go on and on talking and talking, but I do want to thank you so much for joining me for this great conversation. I hope we will continue to stay connected. I am going to definitely keep up with you. Let me know when the book comes out so I can get that one. I want a signed version, not that far from me, so

Brandon Peele:  Next time you’re in town. Yeah.

Melyssa Barrett:  But thank you so much for chatting with me. I’m so excited to see the work that you’re doing in the, and I thank you for it. Wish you the best with the new book and let us know how can people get ahold of you if they want to see the book, check out the book, where’s the best place to go?

Brandon Peele:  Yeah, I mean, I used to put on a newsletter then nobody read it. I stopped doing. But yeah, I mean, you can find me on the socials. So I’m on Brandon Peele, P-E-E-L-E, and yeah, Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta X, and then you going to want to go to my website. You can do that. That’s where you could find everything. Brandon I’ll take you to Unity Lab if you want to go that direction and go to books that direction.

Melyssa Barrett:  Awesome. He’s around folks. You can find them. Thanks for joining me on the Jolly Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.