2-m spaces’ talent and passion lie with helping leaders and their organizations get clearer about the results they want to create, personally and professionally, and supporting them in achieving those outcomes.
Our passion has motivated us to develop a deep understanding of the critical role leadership, culture and brand play in the success of an enterprise and the intricate connection between those elements. When courageously managed, they drive the extraordinary results, the almost unexplainable performance, some companies enjoy. And when leadership, culture and brand are not given the thoughtful attention they deserve, we believe they are almost always key contributors to the decline of once-promising ventures. These elements are rarely well managed, in part because they are harder to measure and, more importantly, because of what is required of leaders: the willingness to make a profound change, often at a time when the “numbers” seem to indicate all is well.
With this focus, we aim to address the space between where a CEO and his/her team are, where they would like to be and where they are likely to end up. Our founder, Michael Mack, has successfully navigated that space in his own career, and we’re excited to help others do the same.
We are selective. The work we do with CEOs is not for everyone. It takes courage to accept our own contribution to what is not working (versus pointing to someone or something else), and it’s difficult to realize that the change we seek begins with a change in ourselves. It often entails a change in “what” we do and almost always a change in “how” we do things. As Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
As Founder and Managing Director of 2m-spaces, I thought it might be useful to provide some information about my background and, really, the inspiration for my lifelong interest in leadership and culture. It began during my time at Bain & Co. I joined after Harvard Business School and worked for three years in the Boston Office and three years in London Office. Bain was a wonderful platform to learn about business strategy and how organizations really worked. One of my observations was related to the disenchantment employees felt throughout organizations and the lack of alignment between what the CEOs wanted to see happen and how vastly different that was from the interests of those responsible for executing the strategy. The lack of communication and understanding was enormous. And accompanying that, throughout most organizations, was a great deal of cynicism, a lack of engagement and a feeling of being unheard and unappreciated.
So, when I decided to leave Bain and run my own company, one of the core principles was to have a committed, inspired organization that was aligned with the strategy of the company and to make sure every member of the team felt respected and cared for by senior management. I viewed this as the path to creating a high-performance organization and a way to create a profound competitive edge, which Bain had taught me was so critically important. It proved to be true.
I did a lot of things intuitively right when I started running my own company. And I quickly discovered that to create the type of results I wanted within my organization, I needed to develop my capabilities as a leader. That was a critical insight. In order to generate change in the organization, I needed to do things differently, and I needed to “be” different in terms of how I spoke and listened, regardless of circumstance. Harvard and Bain & Co were incredible learning experiences for me; yet, what I wanted to learn was not available at either of those amazing organizations.
So, I began a process that has now spanned over 35 years of learning and developing as a leader. In addition to all my “on the job” learning, I pursued coaching, leadership development seminars, personal growth work, spiritual exploration, daily practice and learning from my mistakes.
And it worked. My company, Garden Fresh Restaurants, was enormously successful (in a sector of the restaurant industry that was highly challenging), in large part because of the culture and the leaders who joined me in creating it. While I was CEO, Garden Fresh (under the Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes brands) exhibited 16 consecutive years of positive same-store sales and top-tier store-level margins. I financed the growth of Garden Fresh through eight equity offerings, four rounds of venture capital, an IPO, a secondary public offering and, after ten years as a public company, two private equity transactions. When I left Garden Fresh in 2012, there were about 125 restaurants in 15 states, 6,000 employees and approximately $330 million in sales.
My passion for helping organizations attain their full potential has informed my career and drives my current work. I co-developed a leadership program for the University of San Diego’s MSEL (Master of Science in Executive Leadership) curriculum, founded by Ken Blanchard, and serve on the Advisory Board for the USD School of Business. I also served for a period of time on the Advisory Board of Tender Greens, one of the most successful emerging restaurant brands, and on the Board of Advisors for Logic Source (http://www.logicsource.com), a leader in indirect purchasing solutions. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn from and develop an ongoing relationship with the team at Insight Leadership (http://www.insightleadership.net/), a coaching and consulting firm that focuses holistically on individual and organizational success.
My time at Garden Fresh, my commitment to my development as a leader, the amazing coaches I have had the pleasure to spend time with and the client work I have done since Garden Fresh have all contributed to my unique views of leadership and culture, some of which I’ve shared on this site. It is a work in progress, as am I as a leader. Perhaps it’s time for you to get more of the results you want.
Now, I’ve taken the next step and founded 2m-spaces as a platform to support CEOs in the creation of extraordinary results.