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The Visioning Process

Episode 3 - The Visioning System.png


System Execution Episode 3: Implementing a visioning process in your business, with Ari Weinzweig

System Execution explores the strategy and system behind today’s successful companies. Systems can make or break a company but here we’ll solve physical, technological, and psychological systems issues by connecting listeners with experts who have overcome these challenges in their business.

 Ari Weinzweig is CEO and co-founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Zingerman’s produces and sells a variety full-flavored, traditional foods in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Each business is unique and has something different to offer, whether it’s their flagship Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Coffee Company or Korean Restaurant.

Weinzweig has been celebrated in the food industry and is an author of many published articles and books.

But when he graduated from the University of Michigan, Weinzweig says he had no vision. He stayed in Ann Arbor and stumbled upon a dishwashing job. He eventually moved up in the restaurant business.


“I came to love food and cooking pretty quickly,” he said.


When Weinzweig was burnt out with his management job, he gave notice. Two days later, his previous manager and soon-to-be partner, Paul Saginaw suggested the two look at a building where they could open a deli they’d always talked about.

They opened four months later. That was 34 years ago, and now they have approximately 10 businesses in the Ann Arbor area.

Managing the vision of all those businesses takes time. And for Zingerman’s, it wasn’t ever a single statement.


“When you have 100 or 50 or whatever people working with you, they don’t have that emotion that you and I might have for the vision, because it’s not their vision,” Weinzweig says. “By really spelling it out in much more detail and telling stories basically within the vision, it really comes alive in a way that becomes meaningful to everybody.” 


They spent a year ideating and outlining their idea for their community of Zingerman’s businesses, each with its own specialty, a passionate managing partner, and all operating as one synergistic organization.

Zingerman’s vision doesn’t just account for the founders’ vision, but the entire Zingerman’s community. They work collaboratively with all their employees to build a stronger statement.


“I would suggest that an inclusive, collaboratively written, engaging vision where you really bring people into the process,” Weinzweig said. “Help them understand A how to do it, and then B why it matters, and then C listen to their input and incorporate as much of it as you can. You end up with a far more powerful document, it’s richer.”


One of Zingerman’s businesses also revolves around leadership and training, where they also teach a two-day seminar on visioning, among other business-oriented resources.


To contact Ari Weinzweig:

Email: ari@zingermans.com


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Vera Fischer

By Vera Fischer

The visionary of 97 Degrees West for more than thirteen years, Vera has served as the CEO and President since 2004. During Vera’s tenure, the agency has achieved steady growth while surviving both economic recessions in Austin, Texas. Vera began her advertising career at GSD&M where she worked on accounts: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Houston Rockets, Dollar Rent-A-Car, Pearl Vision, SeaWorld and DoubleTree Hotels. Her next stop was the nationally recognized T3 known as “The Think Tank.” While at T3, Vera spearheaded the Dell Computers launch of the Preferred Accounts Division and lead national projects for the ESL and Enterprise Divisions. Other notable accounts included Quintiles Oncology, Austin Lyric Opera and St. David’s Hospital. In 2001, Vera left the agency world to embark on the client side as Director of Marketing for Forgent Networks, the software spin-off of VTEL video conferencing. Vera managed an annual multi-million dollar marketing budget, developed online lead generation programs, managed the inside sales team and consistently delivered high-quality MQLs to the sales team. In 2004, after a company wide re-org, Vera was laid off while on maternity leave. Within the day, she founded her agency, 97 Degrees West. Vera’s weekly podcast entitled, “System Execution”, launched in mid-2016 with notable guests like Ari Weinzweig, Jeff Smith, Gary Bizzo, Dr. Alan Pitt, and other business and thought leaders. Vera is the first woman to host a podcast devoted to systems and processes of successful companies. She is quickly becoming one of the country’s leading authorities on the topic of execution Vera is a member of the Austin University Area Rotary Club, an advisory board member for the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Texas State University and a Mentor at Capital Factory in Austin, Texas. Vera is completing her Master’s in Strategic Communications at Texas State University in May 2018.