Jennifer Dulski (@jdulski) is the Head of Groups and Community at Facebook, former COO of, and author of Purposeful: Are You a Manager or a Movement Starter?

What We Discuss with Jennifer Dulski:

  • While they’re both necessary for any organization to succeed in realizing its ambitions, what really separates movement starters from managers?
  • What movement starters from all walks of life have in common and what they do differently that makes them able to achieve incredible results.
  • How businesses and teams can unite for a common purpose — and why this is not only important, but crucial for moving forward and keeping everyone involved on the same page.
  • How to bridge the gap between idea and impact — from creating a clear vision for your team as well as persuading decision-makers and even navigating criticism.
  • How you can use influence mapping to recruit others to support your movement.
  • And much more…
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When you’re dissatisfied with the way the world is today, what do you do to ensure it’s a better world tomorrow? You roll up your sleeves and start a movement that, by small and purposeful increments, brings your vision of what’s possible to life.

Head of Groups and Community at Facebook and Purposeful: Are You a Manager or a Movement Starter? author Jennifer Dulski joined us to record this episode live at Facebook HQ in Palo Alto, California and show us where to begin. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

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Jennifer Dulski’s Wall Street Journal bestseller asks a question in its very title: Purposeful: Are You a Manager or a Movement Starter? As Head of Groups and Community at Facebook, former COO of, and someone who’s spent time at the upper echelons of Yahoo and Google, Jennifer knows how she’d answer. Do you?

What’s the right answer? What makes a movement starter stand out from a manager?

“I’m not trying to say that managers, in and of themselves, are bad,” says Jennifer. “Managers are necessary and there are awesome managers that are critical to organizations that help people grow their careers. But the distinction that I’m trying to draw is that managers are people who do the best with what they’re given. They say, ‘We’re doing everything we can.’ And movement starters are the ones that push beyond the status quo. Who say, ‘There must be more that we can do’ and they find a way to rally people behind them in doing that.”

Jennifer clarifies that one doesn’t have to be a manager or in some comparable position of power in order to graduate to the level of a purposeful movement starter. A movement starter can be anyone who sees room for improvement in some area — whether it’s in his or her neighborhood, workplace, city, state, country, or planet — and starts the ball rolling toward transforming that improvement from an idea into reality.

The movement being started doesn’t have to be a grandiose improvement. Maybe you see yourself simply as a manager or team leader in a customer service department and you’d like to boost morale among the people who answer the phone and listen to complaints all day. Or maybe you’re a student with the desire to take a Swahili class at a college that doesn’t currently offer one.

“It can also be something that is going to change your community or the world,” says Jennifer. “Those things also start small, which I think is sometimes confusing to people. They think that you have to just wake up one day and suddenly you’re Nelson Mandela! It doesn’t happen that way. It happens with regular people who take small steps that become bigger.

“A good example is we’re in the middle of this situation with children being separated from their families at the border. There’s a couple, Charlotte and Dave Willner, who started a fundraiser saying, ‘We don’t think this is right, and we want to do something about it.’ They were trying to raise $1,500; they’re almost [at] $20 million! They didn’t start out saying, ‘We want to raise $20 million for this issue.’ They took a small step that then rallied other people and became a movement.”

Something that began as a small token of support for families being torn apart snowballed into something bigger than the Willners could have imagined, and now has the momentum to power an even bigger movement. But it couldn’t have started without the couple’s purposeful first step.

“That’s one of the things that I saw about movements in all of the interviews I did and the work I’ve done,” says Jennifer. “The first step really almost always leads to some kind of future action. People are afraid to take that first step, but once you do it, it’s much easier to do everything else.”

Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about the ladder of engagement that turns a small step into a movement, where moral licensing ends and investment toward real action begins, how movement makers use storytelling to motivate such action, why no vision that aims to realize an improvement is too small, the three separate but complementary ingredients that make up Jennifer’s recipe for vision, how influence mapping can be used to recruit others to support a movement, the movement-perpetuating rewards of embracing the first followers of your movement, how to use criticism as an advantage for your movement, and much more.


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