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Matthew McCarthy: Why Being at Peace with Yourself Makes You A Better Team Player

In this episode, Richard interviews Matthew McCarthy. Matthew is best known to the world as the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s, where he leads an iconic and innovative global brand that continually breaks the rules on how business can be a force for good in the world. He steers and serves a team of passionate ice cream aficionados and aspiring activists, and is responsible for Ben & Jerry’s long-standing 3-part mission of delivering economic product and social mission impact in the communities and countries where the company operates. He tells us about the importance of staying true to yourself, and how being at peace with yourself makes you a better team member and a leader.

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Richard 00:11
Hi, friends. Welcome back to With Great People, the podcast for high-performance teams. I’m Richard Kasperowski. Our special guest today is Matthew McCarthy. Now, this is a really special episode for me because Matthew is an old friend, a very dear friend, a friend from high school days. He is currently the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s and here’s how I know him best. I know Matthew best as the former lead singer of a relatively obscure and definitely very underrated rock band from the late 1980s. To support this podcast, visit my website, kasperowski.com.

Richard:

Matthew, hello. Thank you so much for being here today.

Matthew:
Thank you for having me. And it’s a super huge treat to see you again.

Richard:
Thanks, man. It really is. It’s definitely a treat for me. I just did the non-standard Matthew McCarthy interview. They sent me the official … The non-standard Matthew McCarthy introduction. They sent me the standard introduction that I was supposed to read. I didn’t do it. Good thing I don’t work for Ben & Jerry’s, they would fire me. Is there anything you want to add on to that intro?

Matthew:
Probably not much. I think I’m going to scrap what I have and readopt yours, even if I’m doing some big [inaudible 00:01:26] conference, I think I may say, “Read this.”

Matthew:
“Is this really what … ”

Matthew:
“Yeah, read that.”

Matthew:
That’s way cooler. I know it’s not much. I work for Ben & Jerry’s, I’ve known Ben & Jerry’s for about two and a half years. And I’ve been with the parent company Unilever for about 23 or so years and yeah. Yeah, that’s …

Richard:
Okay. And I got to say, this isn’t in … People know I have this script, that I read off of. I just held it up to the camera for people who are listening to the audio only podcast. When you first started working for Unilever, I was like, “Big company, boring. I’m not interested in that at all.”

Richard:
… but Ben & Jerry’s, that’s cool. Was this like … I don’t know. I’ve been following you over the years. You’ve definitely been having fun in big corp land. How did you end up at Ben & Jerry’s?

Matthew:
I actually am not fully sure of that. Honestly, I actually started my career working with my dad and the family business. He worked in business and then he didn’t want to do it anymore. And he bought a very small printing firm in Massachusetts. And so I was a teen at that time. And so my summers and then into college breaks and stuff like that, I worked with him and that’s actually where I finally had a little bit of structure because as an undergraduate at UMass Amherst, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I studied political science and French and Western European studies and a bunch of other stuff. I was somewhat directionless. And I remember having a lot of envy for folks that seemed to have their act together. They knew what they wanted to do. And all of a sudden I was like, “All right, whatever.”

Matthew:
And when I worked with my dad, it provided a little bit of structure and in a small business, you do everything. You’re the bottle washer, you get the mail and you’re delivering orders and whatnot. And the customer side I really, really liked. That’s probably my first taste of marketing. I’d always had summer jobs when I was a kid. Paper route. Actually, scooping ice cream was one of my jobs as a teenager, believe it or not. And actually, the customer interaction was something I thrived on. And that just over time, led me more in the marketing direction. And so to then fast forward without boring you with all the details, to go off, get a master’s degree and work in brand management. To me, that was a special and a big leap for me. To go to a company like Unilever, actually at the time, it was Best Foods. It was Best Foods and investments got acquired by Unilever about 20 … Actually, about 20, 22, 23 years ago.

Matthew:
And so yeah, there’s a lot of stuff about business that can be a little boring, can be fluffy. And I remember early on, I never really felt that I fit in because I didn’t go to Ivy league schools and a lot of people were brand management hat. And so you’d sit around the lunch table, be like, “Oh, where’d you go to school? And where’d you [inaudible 00:04:34] … ”

Matthew:
And I’m like, “Wow.”

Matthew:
And interestingly and oddly, is that the more I … As my career progressed, the more I relaxed and tried to bring more of myself to the work, which includes fun and laughing, you and I always been jokesters, the better the work got. And so the older I got, the more I looked back and said, “Gosh, maybe people told me that but I didn’t listen, the idea that work doesn’t need to be stuffy, difficult.”

Matthew:
As with all organizations, whether they’re business or not, they’ve got their difficult sides, their stuffy sides. And humans working together also create that in group settings and team dynamics and whatnot but the more fun I have, the better my business results have become.

Richard:
Cool, cool. I love that. And you just said something about team settings and groups. This is the podcast about teams. What is the best team you’ve ever been part of in your life before? Before we did the intro, welcome to the podcast, we were talking about different things, musical groups and stuff like this. When I say team, what I mean is any group of two or more people who have a shared goal, right. That could be … In my case, sometimes it’s me and my wife or it’s you and a work team or you in a music group or even … Any group of two or more people aligned with a common goal? What’s your best team that you’ve been a member of?

Matthew:
Oh, man. That is a very difficult question. And as you were talking there, you gave me a couple seconds head start to get the gears corking around my head. I’ll steer clear of my wife references because I could come back to that and talk to that a lot. And I don’t want to talk about that as a way to say, “Well, if you don’t talk abut your wife … ”

Matthew:
Let’s just call that a given because I’m a very lucky guy to be with my wife. My knee-jerk reaction was to talk about businessy stuff but the way you just explained it, shifted a bit to me to more playing music with other people. There’s not one in particular, there’s almost a zone that you get in when you’re playing with people you like, people you trust. And you’re actually just jamming away. It’s hard to describe to people who don’t play music. Maybe they do something else in their life where they get into a shared zone. That’s a bit beyond the normal language because you’re playing music together. And I’m not a great musician. And the people I play with, many of them are more talented than I am. That’s not the point. I’m a big fan of an adage that a friend told me once, “Well, just make it your own.”

Matthew:
Sometimes we try to play a song and I want to sound just like whoever wrote it and [inaudible 00:07:24] and said, “Just make it your own, Matthew.”

Matthew:
And so when you can play for me, when I can play music with other people that I trust and I feel that I can just be myself, not only do I enjoy it more but in a weird cosmic way, I think we then send out a signal to the other people that, “Yes, it’s an invitation for you to be more like yourself.”

Matthew:
For [inaudible 00:07:48] session was one where just the unspoken mojo of trust isn’t a thing, it’s more of a continuum. Trust isn’t a thing, it’s almost a field, a magnetic field of trust. And each of the players is contributing to it. And there’s a special moment. Sometimes we record it and you listen to it, it sounds pretty crappy in hindsight. That didn’t matter at all because the memory of being in the moment with other people and the … I suppose the other adage you and I were chatting about, was the notion of taking the solo. And I use this analogy a lot in my business work, my teamwork with my gang.

Matthew:
What we do is often like making music together, some parts are difficult, you have to practice, you have to work on your craft. Before you get into the team setting, you got … The person who doesn’t practice the song, we all know you know that right away. That’s the one person [inaudible 00:08:44] immediately. That’s the same ways in teams in business, is everybody has to show up prepared and with an energy and a desire to create a goal, to move towards a goal. And the idea of a solo is that … The statement about a soloist taking a solo is completely wrong. No soloist takes a solo. The other band mates give them the space to have one and then support them through, especially when that soloist maybe going to try some things that they’ve never done before. You actually need the rest of the band to actually support them, not back away. We all know the edge when someone does a stage dive. In the audience, they either go and catch that person [inaudible 00:09:28] where somebody does a stage dive and everyone moves away. That’s not trusting teamwork. Long answer to your short question.

Richard:
Did you know that when I was 20 years old, I was a big aficionado. I was a master stage diver, except for that one day when nobody caught me and I actually broke my hands.

Matthew:
Ouch.

Richard:
Oh, boy. Oh, I met somebody at a tech conference once. And this guy was like, “Hey, you look familiar. Were you the guy at that show the other night who was doing the … ”

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
Yeah, “I moved back. I made sure I didn’t try to catch you.”

Richard:
All right, one of these … If you can think of a particular, one of these music groups that you’ve been with, if you could … All that stuff you were just talking about, if you could summarize all of that sensation of being in one of those music groups, one of those best teams, into one word, is there a one word that you could use to describe that? What does it feel like within you?

Matthew:
It’s definitely a feeling of peace and the peace suggests relaxation, it isn’t. Usually, when I’m playing with friends and particularly to answer you, as you prompted me with a question, there’s a group of guys I play with and we play some very loud rock, 70s type of glam rock and punkish type of stuff. It’s not a calm peace but knowing that you’re with people where you can be yourself, I find it incredibly peaceful. It’s a high energy peace but it’s definitely an equilibrium without unnecessary stress.

Richard:
Nice. And some more about that. These music groups that you play with, how do you … We’ve been talking about peace. We’ve been talking about giving space, giving a solo, that’s trust. Trust is a continuum, not a specific thing. How do you know subjectively or objectively, that these are great teams? Or maybe we can just generalize and say great experiences with other people? What is it subjectively that lets you know, this is great?

Matthew:
Yeah. If I come into a group, one of the things that I have found that signals to me that this is a team that’s working well together, is … There’s a couple of hallmarks now that you’re asking it. One of them is they appear to listen to each other. Really listen, they’re not cutting each other off. And I’m wicked guilty of cutting people off mid sentence. I’ve really had to work on that over my career with other men. And of course, with women as we often guys do but listening. And if people aren’t listening, it’s almost like, “Press the stop button. You people aren’t even listening to each other. What’s going on here?”

Matthew:
Listening is one. And at the same time, challenging, being honest because I think you have to be able to be honest and that includes disagreeing with people. And so if someone says, “No, no, no. The song goes like this. It’s an altitude. Totally doesn’t go like that.”

Matthew:
… without making it personal, right. The minute people make stuff personal, it suggests to me that not only are people not listening but they’re not actually willing to challenge each other in order to create something better together. Sometimes people are really … And I’ve been guilty of this more often when I was when I was younger but still these days, “I want to be right. I’ve got an idea about what we should do here.”

Matthew:
Well, that’s solo playing. That’s playing by yourself. If you want to play with other people and you want to respect them and you want them to feel valued, then you can’t make your idea or your will superior to others. That doesn’t mean you don’t challenge each other. People being nice to each other is not the hallmark of a great team, all right. People can be nice to each other and then feel like they actually couldn’t speak the truth. There can be a lack of trust there because everyone was just trying to be nice, when the reality is sometimes you got to talk about difficult things.

Matthew:
Those are probably two things that I look for or that jump out to me when I come in to a team. And then the other one is having fun. That’s maybe an overused way of talking about it but if people are not … I am a firm believer that we humans do our best work when we’re happy. It doesn’t mean we can’t be struggling and having difficulty but I believe to my core that we humans are do … We do our best work when we’re moving towards carrots, not away from sticks.

Richard:
Yeah. I’m totally with you on this. And what about objectively? If somebody from outside the group were watching or listening or using their senses, what would be some object of evidence that this a great team?

Matthew:
Progress.

Richard:
Progress. What does progress look like?

Matthew:
I’ve worked with teams … And I’m sure I’ve been guilty of, been more interested in being right and debate. Objectively, you see a team and they’re spending a lot of time debating, it may be a very intelligent debate. It may be rigorous debate. It may be a well thought through debate. This isn’t a debate club. Unless you’re in a debate club, that’s not what life is really … That’s not a lot of the things we do in life. If the team is not moving the ball forward, I actually don’t really care what they’re doing.

Matthew:
And again, if it’s just a book discussion group and the goal is to discuss or to debate, that’s fine but if you’re in a team that’s designed to do something, output or results and progress, particularly consistent progress … Anybody can have a really great play, right. Get the ball to really fall far down the field but the team that’s able to move the ball six yards, six yards, six yards, six yards, six yards, that’s a winning team. No matter what the competition tries to shift and change, the team that can constantly move the ball down the field, that to me. Output. I joke, “You don’t measure how great the ice cream is by what goes into the pint. You measure it by how great it tastes when you stick your spoon in and you [crosstalk 00:16:13].”

Matthew:
Right. Some people I find are, “Let’s talk about the ingredients or let’s talk about the ingredients going into the pint.”

Matthew:
You really measure what comes out of the oven. That’s really what the good stuff.

Richard:
Wow, this is so great. And in my world, working with a lot of tech companies, it’s engineers endlessly debating the best algorithm or the right tools to use and the right programming language but all that really matters is you can get stuff done, deliver it to people and they love it, right.

Matthew:
Yeah. Yes.

Richard:
Building software is just like building ice cream it turns out.

Matthew:
I do not doubt this.

Richard:
Or making music, right. Or making music. When you think about some of these music groups that you’re part of or … Any of the best teams you’ve been on, what are three concrete behaviors that somebody could notice, three very concrete things that people do in these groups?

Matthew:
They talk about and ideally agree on, what they’re trying to do together, “What does success look like here?”

Matthew:
And even if it’s a jam together, the success is, “We just want to have a good time.”

Matthew:
Fine but if two of the people think success is writing a new song and getting it recorded in that session and the other two are like, “Man, I just brought a 12 pack of beer, we’re just here to have a good time.”

Matthew:
You’re going to have a problem, right. People that notice the importance and actually then make it clear, “Well, what are we trying to accomplish here?”

Matthew:
I know that sounds super basic but I’ve seen lots of groups, I’ve been part of groups that they’re going in circles and it’s not because they’re bad people or they’re not talented, they actually don’t have a shared sense of what success looks like. The first thing is, is goal setting and sharing in that. And I see so many people debate what they’re trying to accomplish. And that’s like … As my dad would always say, “You can run around on the dock all you want, folding the sails and rolling up the ropes and putting them in a perfect order. Unless you get on the boat, push away from the dock, you’re not sailing.”

Richard:
Right.

Matthew:
You have to have an objective of what you’re trying to do or else you just go around [inaudible 00:18:23]. That’s one, I think you asked for three.

Richard:
Sure. I’ll take three.

Matthew:
Did you not say three? Did I just make that up?

Richard:
I said three. I’ll take what you got. That’s a really good one.

Matthew:
I’m making it up as I go, dude.

Richard:
That’s a really good one.

Matthew:
They have a shared … The second one is, they ask questions. They ask questions. Questions unlock for power of the mind. Questions unlock the power of each other’s minds. Inquiry. Very few great things in life don’t start with a question.

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
All right. And so people … And I am super guilty of this. Sometimes you’d go into a team building work shop or whatnot and they put you into groups and they give you a puzzle to solve and like, “Okay, we’re going to give you five straws, a piece of cloth, some tape and good luck.”

Matthew:
And immediately, sometimes people just try to rush to the solution and I think it’s human nature, particularly people that have a high drive for success or accomplishment but asking questions not only triggers the mind to wonder a bit and to say, “Oh, what could we do here?”

Matthew:
It also shows generosity. Questions says you actually care what other people think. And I find that often, that’s one of the lesser discussed benefits, is that I would … If I ask you a question, I think I’m showing you a bit more respect and that I actually care what you think, than if I just say, “Great, let’s start. I have an idea. Let’s do this.”

Matthew:
And third one, I don’t know. Maybe conflict, seeing how people resolve a difference. If one person says … Two people want to do it this way and two people want to do it that way, you can almost sit back and go, “How are they going to … Who’s going to win here?”

Matthew:
… because it’s human nature to want to win.

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
You want your idea to be the one that gets picked or the one that gets selected. And particularly if groups are divided, do they resolve it or do they collapse? Do they literally run into an impasse that they themselves have created or do they say, “Well, in order to do number one, which is the shared goal, we’re going to have to make a decision here.”

Matthew:
Those are three behaviors.

Richard:
Awesome. The thing about asking questions, I’m … Because we started by talking about music. I’m curious about this. Is there a musical way to ask questions that doesn’t involve using speech?

Matthew:
You mean when you’re jamming.

Richard:
Yeah, when you’re actually doing the music versus talking about it before you do the music.

Matthew:
Oh man, that is a good question. I don’t know. And I’m not going to pretend to know but the thought that jumped into my head as you were asking it, was the device of call and response in music, right.

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
And sometimes you don’t have to say, “Hey, everybody repeat after me.”

Richard:
Right.

Matthew:
Sometimes I’ve seen this. We’ve gone to watch a band and then the singer just goes, “Ay, oh.”

Matthew:[inaudible 00:21:40].

Richard:
Ay, oh.

Matthew:
Yeah and so there’s [crosstalk 00:21:43].

Richard:
Did you say something?

Matthew:
It was at that moment that the podcast went completely off the radar. Now, I don’t know how would we do call and response in a team environment. I guess, maybe through questions like, “Oh. Hey, what do you think? What do you think?”

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
… but there is something to be said for … I’m thinking about a mother duck and all her ducklings and the mother duck jumps into the water.

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
And all the ducklings are gathered around the edge of the … Maybe a little ledge that goes into a water area.

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
And they’re all not sure what to do but mother can only encourage like, “Okay. Come on, you need to get going.”

Matthew:
And then one duck jumps in and the next thing you know, they all start jumping in. And I think sometimes you don’t have to be what you would define in your head as a natural leader or always the leader. Very often, people are looking for someone to lead and it doesn’t have to be the same person every time. In fact, it gets boring if the same person takes that first plunge on every project, on every part of your organization. In fact, very often I’ve underestimated … Other people were hoping that somebody would take the leap. And when I was that person, particularly when I lacked the confidence and I was like, “Oh, who’s going to lead first here?”

Matthew:
And I said, “Well, I’m just going to go for it.”

Matthew:
Usually, I was self-conscious. I wasn’t sure if I was going to fall on my face, whatever it was. And then all of a sudden, people jumped in behind me and they’re like, “Oh, I’m glad you jumped in.”

Matthew:
… but I didn’t think about that because I think I was too absorbed in my own either self-consciousness or, “Do I have the skills to make this jump? Or what if I fall on my face?”

Matthew:
And so in a weird way, I was absorbed often … Often in my life, absorbed by my own narrative in my head about whether or not I should leap.

Richard:
Yeah.

Matthew:
And then once I leapt, I completely was clueless that a lot of other people leapt after me just because they saw me leap. And I’m not always the person who leaps first. And so I would encourage … I try to encourage people to think about it. You never know who’s watching you and hoping that you’ll be the one that leaps and if you go, they’ll go behind you. They’ll never tell you that usually, in group settings. And so sometimes just being the one that leaps and …

Richard:
Oh, that’s so interesting.

Matthew:
… encourages other people to do the same.

Richard:
Yeah. No nobody ever says, “Go ahead. If you leap first, I’ll probably follow right behind.”

Matthew:
We get a little nervous, don’t we?

Richard:
It sounds so artificial, like, “No, I don’t believe you.”

Matthew:
You know something I don’t and [inaudible 00:24:21].

Richard:
Yeah, “Go ahead, you go first.”

Richard:
How about some advice for listeners, to reproduce some of the success in great teams that we’ve been talking about today?

Matthew:
Yeah, particularly this past year with the pain and the suffering of the COVID virus everywhere around the world. I’m very fortunate to be part of a business that we we’re in many countries around the world. And so I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of different people on my team at the same time, to see just the level of crisis and pain and suffering that’s come because of the COVID pandemic. And there are gifts within even a crisis. You just got to go looking for them because they’re not right out there. They’re usually difficult things, the painful things are the ones that are confronting us hour and hour or day to day, in a pandemic like we’ve been seeing and that none of us have experienced in our lifetimes. One of the things that’s become really, really clear to me through last year, almost starting at this moment a year ago, was the power of compassion. And that compassion truly is a business imperative.

Matthew:
And if you’d asked me, if you would set that line to me, I don’t know, a year, a few years ago, I would probably think you were describing a poster outside of the human resources department or one of those … Teamwork, yay. Some happy people jumping or whatnot but what I have found, is that compassion truly is a business imperative. If people aren’t taking care of themselves, if they’re not taking care of each other, if they’re not looking after their family and the stuff that matters most … You and I are in each other’s homes right now, to a certain degree. And I think that the pandemic has somewhat sliced a hole between that … That false veil between our work lives and our live lives. And so the idea of compassion … If people aren’t taking care of themselves, they’re not taking care of their families, their loved ones, their communities, then forget about the ice cream. And now, that sounds almost basic to say but that’s not often how business operates. It’s like, “Well, we got to make ice cream. We got to do whatever we got to do.”

Matthew:
And the reality is, “No, no we don’t. No, we don’t. What we have to do, is we have to take care of people and make sure that they have what they need to be safe, to be healthy, to thrive.”

Matthew:
And so if you’d asked me that, I think this idea of compassion is a business imperative. And it also, while the compassion side may sound touchy feely or be a soft skill type of a thing, it takes vigilance to bring compassion, particularly in crisis. When you think about needing to do the right things and take decisions quickly in a crisis situation, particularly when it relates to people’s lives and their safety and their health, like keeping your place of work safe, sending people home, following the right protocol from the World Health Organization or CDC that has been constantly evolving over the past year, it requires vigilance. And so never before in my life, did I learn … Did I see or experience or learn the importance of compassion at the same time as vigilance, this need to be vigilant, vigilant to protect your people, vigilant to protect your teammates, vigilant to protect your business because people’s livelihoods also matter, they don’t matter as much as lives.

Matthew:
We talk about many … Many of the consultants, maybe an analyst, maybe people who have studied the organizations thriving or failing to thrive through the pandemic, talk about lives and livelihoods. Lives, that’s the number one focus. And then after that livelihoods because if people don’t know how they’re going to pay their rent, if people don’t know how they’re going to make sure that their heat is on, make sure that they can have food. Livelihood does matter and your job or your career or your vocation is one part of that. And so that connection of compassion is a business imperative and the need for vigilance to really fight very hard and to be working very hard to take decisive action. I used to think those were inversely related, this idea of vulnerability and vigilance. People need to show that they’re vulnerable, it’s okay. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel stress.

Matthew:
There’s a lot of conversation or has been and there needs to be more of it, around psychological health, mental wellbeing. People are struggling, they’re struggling badly. This idea of vulnerability is part of compassion and being vigilant. Being vigilant to say, “No, we’re not going to do it that way. No, we’re not going to open the office. No, you’re not going to work. No, we will not open if we don’t have the proper protective equipment.”

Matthew:
Whatever it might be. Even though there may be other pressures like, “Well, what about this? What do we tell our customers?”

Matthew:
Or whatnot. Sometimes you just have to try make things black and white, particularly through a crisis, so you can try to do what you think is right.

Richard:
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything else interesting you’re working on, any music, anything at all?

Matthew:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, maybe one thing. At Ben & Jerry’s, one of the things I’ve been learning a lot about are all the things that Ben & Jerry’s been fighting for for over four decades, topics, issues around social justice and climate justice. And to be honest with you, I spend most of my life really not understanding this type of stuff. And I gradually became much more interested in my career. And I think that’s the reason why I ended up at Ben & Jerry’s, to answer your earlier question, is that in hindsight, things are clear to me why I’m here because just selling stuff, a number of years ago just wasn’t turning me on as much. And I found that I wanted to use the stuff that I was doing every day to try to do more good without overstating it through the business and then the businesses and the brands that have been part of Unilever.

Matthew:
And Ben & Jerry’s gives the team, gives me a tremendous opportunity, tremendous privilege to learn about topics such as white supremacy culture, white male privilege, systemic racism, the very nature of trying to make Ben & Jerry’s an anti-racist company. And as a very white business that was founded in the second whitest state and still is very white today … Being white is not bad. And I don’t feel any shame about being a white guy. The only shame I think I should feel, is that if I fail to recognize the privilege that I have in this society and doing something to confront those systemic things that give me advantage and that actively and persistently disadvantage other people, particularly black people, indigenous other people of color.

Matthew:
And again, I’m no expert in these topics but I learn by learning day by day. And teamwork is also central here as well. The old adage that many shovels make … Many hands make light work and many shovels are required to move them out. And so the challenges that we’re facing around us, whether they’re related to racial equity, LGBTQ rights, refugees, climate issues, these are things that we at Ben & Jerry’s have been working on for many years, only through teamwork can we hope to have any progress. I’m just one person. I happen to have a fancy title but I’m just one person. And there’s this mythology about hierarchy. The reality at times is the higher you go, the less you know. And that becomes truer every day with the pace of the world and business moving quickly. There’s a bit of a democratizing force where people at the top of the organizations are often the least qualified to help the organization move more, shift transform.

Matthew:
And this is also true for issues around social climate justice. We can only do these things by doing them together. And so this nature of collaboration within teams, is important but the kind of change that we need to have in the world to tackle these big systemic problems, we’re going to have to work more together so actually, I think the skill set of teamwork has never been more important. I’ve learned that you can’t be neutral on a moving train and this idea that you’re either part of the solution, you’re part of the problem and that when you declare that you want to be neutral, you’re actually declaring that you’re okay with the status quo, including if the status quo presses people or is bad for the environment. And I have to confess, for a lot of my life I was someone that just said, “Well, I just want to stay neutral on this. I’m not going to get involved.”

Matthew:
The reality is you that you’re basically making a strong declaration that you’re perfectly comfortable, that white people should have what they have and black people shouldn’t, that the environment should be polluted. And you’re okay with that. And so I would encourage people to find a way to do something, particularly through their vocation, through their work, that not only does the day stuff but actually is having an active, positive impact on something that you care about. It doesn’t actually matter exactly what it is.

Matthew:
We do certain things at Ben & Jerry’s but really, you can do both. You can do your work, you can do your vocation, you can do your business, assuming that it isn’t already part of solving climate or social injustice but you can do those things. And that often can create even stronger teamwork because people … Now, Ben Cohen, one of our co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s, was famous for saying, “The strongest bonds you can form with your fans or your consumers are over shared values.”

Matthew:
And your shared values are not things you just talk about but the things that you’re willing to take action on.

Richard:
All right. That is so well said, thank you for all of that. And if listeners and viewers want to learn more, learn more about you, learn more about Ben & Jerry’s and the mission that goes beyond ice cream, the mission that goes beyond making music with friends and acquaintances, is there a website? Is there somewhere they can get in touch or learn more?

Matthew:
Yeah, sure. You can just go over and just put in your browser Ben&Jerry’s.com and you’ll go to our website. You can learn about not only ice cream but all those things that we’re doing. You can follow us on Twitter. You can follow us on Instagram. We don’t hide the stuff that we’re trying do. And we certainly welcome folks to engage with us or give us criticism. I’m all about constructive criticism. I got people telling me they don’t like stuff we’re doing every day. That’s perfectly fine too but thankfully, we have more fans that are supporting the work we’re doing. Yeah, just go to our website. That’s probably the easiest way to get info.

Richard:
Awesome. Thank you so much. Matthew, this has been a really great pleasure. We haven’t talked in quite a while and it’s been awesome catching up but I really appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.

Matthew:
Thank you for having me. This has been … The feeling is nothing short of mutual.

Richard:
And listeners and viewers, remember to support this podcast. Visit my website, kasperowski.com.

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