Noble Purposes with Lisa Earle McLeod · ShiftWorkPlace

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E32 Noble Purposes with Lisa Earle McLeod

Bio for Lisa Earle-McLeod

Lisa Earle McLeod is a Strategy Consultant, Founder of McLeod & More, Inc., and author of five books, including her bestseller, Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud. A global expert on purpose-driven business, her work has been featured in Forbes, Fortune and The New York Times.

Episode highlight

Lisa Earle McLeod adds a deep desire to make a difference and a search for meaning to her extensive background in sales and consulting to create a workplace where both money and a difference can be made. Listen in on how she refocuses businesses on innovating to make customers’ lives better.



  • “Most people assume that the purpose of a business is to make money but I would challenge that… money is the output from a successful business but the purpose of the business, plain and simple, is to improve life for customers.”
  • “If your job as a parent, if you view that through the lens of ‘I’ve got to get up, I’ve got to get them to school, I’ve got to get the dinner on the table’, all those things matter but if you layer on this layer of purpose and you say, ‘You know, I’m here to create a meaningful connection with this smaller person, I’m here to forge this person’s values, I’m here to create a future leader who will stand for something in the world’ – when you look at those mundane tasks through the lens, you become better, you enjoy it more and you do a better job, and the same thing is true of work.”
  • “The way that you bring nobility to a task and the sense of meaning is actually not thinking about being the best at it… The way you bring a sense of meaning is always the same – it is thinking about the impact it’s going to have on others.”
  • “[Nobility] is in the service of someone besides yourself or in the service of a cause bigger than yourself.”
  • “Our physical constructs and the way we assess and analyze business all came from mental frameworks… so if you want results, you got to change frameworks.”
  • “Money matters, and when you make it for other people, that is a big day!”
  • “We have trained people at work to become very transactional and only think about the bottom line, only think about what’s in it for me, and I can tell you the business studies tell us that when a company behaves that way, their long term prospects are not good.”
  • “My generation, we want connection and meaning, we want belonging and significance, we want purpose at work, but my generation was taught to give that up… unless you want to go become a social worker. But the younger generation is not having it, and they are speaking the unspoken dreams of their parents.”
  • “If you have disdain for wealthy people, the likelihood of you becoming one of them is pretty small.”
  • “People have disdain for sales yet it’s hard to imagine a business operating without someone selling things so the very thing that is crucial for any business to be able to sell things is the thing that we look with disdain upon… It’s one of the few professions where we let the people who do it badly define it.”
  • “Everyone reveres motherhood, but no one wants to provide the resources to do it.”
  • “The reason we get so polarized is because we’re unwilling to let go of our solution and step into a place of uncertainty because it’s [from] that place of uncertainty that the innovation is born.”
  • “In almost every faith’s tradition, there is a grounding of principles about how to behave and they’re all very similar if you look across different faiths… They tell people how to behave in small circumstances and in large circumstances because they are circumstance-agnostic.”
  • “Organizations who were very transactional, whose purpose was… simply to make money cloaked in a couple of nice values because their end game was only their money, those organizations will really struggle.”
  • “The firms who have a purpose bigger than money outperform the market by over 350% and it’s because when times are tough, they double down on improving life for customers.”


Childhood incidents:

In the middle of third grade, Lisa and her brother went to Hawaii with their mother to stay at their aunt’s home. They enrolled in a small school for a month, where they stood out for their blond hair and blue eyes. Since the town did not have television, the local kids had never seen white people. Lisa had gone to a diverse elementary school, so she was surprised at how curious they were about her. However, she remembers the “amazing experience of being the odd one out and being welcomed graciously” and has worked to extend that to any minority in her life.

Lisa was 14 when she got her first job at Doughnut King, a chain of 3 stores run by a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant. After a while of working there, she was entrusted with running the store alone. On one Saturday, a group of firemen purchased all the doughnuts in the store. When the owner returned, Lisa loved the look on his face as he excitedly counted the money in the cash register. This inspired her to begin on her journey of “helping people make money” as a confident salesperson.

Groups you were born into and belonged to:

Lisa was born into a middle-class family to white college-educated parents. There was a palpable disdain of wealthy people in the neighbourhood she lived in. They spoke negatively about the character of those people who left the neighbourhood to move to fancier areas of the city. She realized that she needed to upturn that belief about wealth because “everybody wants it but then we have disdain for it”.

Lisa’s mother was a science teacher and an atheist. However, Lisa always felt drawn to the spiritual world and she joined a faith called Unitarian Universalism. One of its core principles was to believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, which has taken root in Lisa’s life and is a tenet she lives by. She believes that a leader should be a moral center for others and point them in the right direction.

Temperament and personality influences

Lisa claims she is an extrovert, a storyteller, and a seeker of solutions. She strives to see the deeper meaning and connect the dots. With time, she has learnt to become a better listener and be more concise and open-hearted in her communication.

A time I became aware that my way of doing things was cultural and specific to my cultural experience

Lisa comes from a family of “over-talkers” and is used to people speaking over each other at dinner. When she went for dinner to someone’s house where they did not speak at all, she felt uncomfortable. However, when she visited a house where dinner conversations were structured and parents facilitated and answered their kids’ questions, she aspired to having such dinners in her home.

Advice to an employer to work with me

Lisa claims that her best clients are those who have valuable offerings for their clients and want to:

  1. Differentiate and stand out in the market
  2. Help their team be laser-like focussed on customers
  3. Build a tribe of people who are so emotionally engaged and excited about their job that they think and talk about it with pride

Working with Lisa usually involves 6-9 months of assessments of where the company stands, some consulting about their purpose and message, and some behavioural work at the executive and frontline levels. 12-18 months later, her clients have won industry awards and awards as the best place to work, doubled their revenue, and had their pick of top talent.

More great insights from our guest!

Lisa gives a great example of different departments reaching a negotiated space by stepping into a place of uncertainty. Disney has 4 key pillars, 2 of which seem in conflict with each other – safety and show. While the show people would like for Tinkerbell to jet around the park with a wand on fire, the safety people would like her to be on the ground with tennis shoes and a flashlight. However, a place of workability is reached because “their end game is not safety or show, their end game is magic for the guests.”

Lisa recommends downloading and using the whitepapers from her website to incorporate noble purpose into your business!


Making meaning of the mundane: A strategy consultant shows how to make both our personal and professional lives purposeful with nobility.


Lisa McLeod comes from a background of sales excellence. She went from a Sales Director at Proctor and Gamble to the VP of Sales for a training and consulting firm and then became a business owner and author. Wanting to show how sales as meaningful dialogue has results that help the client have a better life and live in a better world, Lisa has demonstrated over and over with her customers that noble purpose consistently outperforms sales as a transactional technique. Over the years, Lisa perfected her selling with purpose methodology into a book by the same name. That book is one of a suite of five must-read business books Lisa has written to great acclaim.


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