CEO BrainFood

024 Ethics, Value, & Purpose with Albert Erisman

Episode Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael invites executive, professor and author, Albert Erisman to the show to talk about ethics, value and purpose within organizations. Al is Executive in Residence at the School of Business and Economics Seattle Pacific University. He is also the co-chairman of the Theology of Work Project and editor of Ethix Magazine. Michael and Al talk about their belief that purpose and ethics outweigh pure profit in measuring the success of an organization. Al shares stories from his book, The ServiceMaster Story, including a breakdown of the Four Objectives. Finally, they expound on the value of setting a proper foundation, hiring the right people, and fostering a culture where everyone buys into an organization’s goals and objectives.

Episode Notes

00:55 – Michael introduces today’s guest, Albert Erisman

03:23 – Al talks about why he started Ethix Magazine & The Theology of Work Project 

06:25 – Why purpose, meaning and focus outweigh the importance of profits 

09:21 – Al talks about his book, The ServiceMaster Story, and the Four Objectives

20:09 – The concept of ‘Shingles on the Roof’ 

22:42 – The importance of leaders understanding the value of service workers 

27:37 – Al explains that leaders aren’t perfect 

29:11 – The importance of training 

32:34 – Diversity of culture and religion 

35:44 – Al speaks to how his company dealt with exponential growth through acquisitions while honoring the four objectives 

38:08 – Michael thanks Al for joining the show and for the great work that he’s doing

40:15 – Where listeners can follow Al

41:04 – Where to find Michael’s Functional Team Scorecard 


“I think the whole idea of purpose, meaning and focus is the central idea and then profit is the means by which you do that.” (08:31)

“What happens to a company that has a focus on its employees, its purpose, and its meaning? And what happens when that shifts and becomes about profit?” (11:12)

“He wrote that, ‘ServiceMaster had cracked the code by the way the service industry is perceived because they alone were able to instill purpose, meaning and value into the work of a service worker. It changed the way they saw their work and, therefore, it changed the results for the customer.’” (25:07)

“If you build a system that will only works for perfect leaders, it will fail because there are no perfect leaders.” (28:15)


Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael’s Website

The Functional Team Scorecard

Al’s LinkedIn

Theology of Work Website

Ethix Website


Al’s Book – The ServiceMaster Story