By Susan Kavanaugh
“Conscious businesses will help evolve our culture and social systems so that billions of people can flourish, leading lives of infused with passion, purpose, love and creativity; a world of freedom, harmony, prosperity and compassion.” – From the Conscious Capitalism Credo
In Entrepreneur magazine, R. Michael Anderson, founder for the Executive JOY Institute, hits the nail on the head by sharing this message, “If you had a chance to implement a system that would bring in 10 times more profit than similar firms in your market, would your first thought be about what you’d have to give up to do so? What part of your soul would you have to sell?
“The truth is that by doing business the right way – being truly authentic, sticking wholeheartedly to your ethics and morals, and caring more about your customers and employees than your shareholders – you can achieve that gain without losing your soul.”
Hopefully, this message will reach your mind as if were broadcast via bullhorn.
Anderson goes on to say, “Quit trying to play someone else’s game. Be true to yourself, your customers, your employees. And you will be rewarded.”
Companies have been discovering this for years. This new model is an old model, but as we’ve heard before “everything old is new again.”
Though principles of conscious capitalism can be traced back hundreds of years ago, in businesses established to provide services, many try to say that Anita Roddick pioneered the movement in 1976 when she launched The Body Shop. But conscious businesses in lifestyles of health and sustainability and the health food industry have been around even longer. Through the principles of this movement, businesses worldwide have established measurable data supporting the increased revenue and benefits of conscious capitalism.
The principles have been shared, and rewritten, and discussed for years. However, they boil down to four foundational statements (as defined by Raj Sisodia in an interview with Huffington Post):
“The four tenets of Conscious Capitalism are interconnected and build on important academic work relating to purpose, stakeholder management, leadership, and culture.
Higher Purpose: Recognizing that every business should have a higher purpose that transcends making money. It is the difference the company is trying to make in the world. By focusing on its Higher Purpose, a business inspires, engages and energizes its stakeholders.
Stakeholder Orientation: Recognizing that the interdependent nature of life and the human foundations of business, a business needs to create value with and for its various stakeholders (customers, employees, vendors, investors, communities, etc.). Like the life forms in an ecosystem, healthy stakeholders lead to a healthy business system.
Conscious Leadership: Human social organizations are created and guided by leaders – people who see a path and inspire others to travel along the path. Conscious leaders understand and embrace the higher purpose of business and focus on creating value for and harmonizing the interests of the business stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate Conscious Culture.
Conscious Culture: This is the ethos – the values, principles, practices – underlying the social fabric of a business, which permeates the atmosphere of a business and connects the stakeholders to each other and to the purpose, people and processes that comprise the company.”
If you are a solopreneur apply these tenets to your work. Define your higher purpose. Know that your clients’ success is interdependent with your services and their own consumers; all should be geared toward healthy and beneficial outcomes.
When you operate from a space of conscious living, you create your own internal culture. If you outsource work to contract employees, or even have a part-time employee, your conscious approach to your own experiences will impact the contractor. The contractor may not see an overt approach, but you will model positive, enlightened behavior that will eventually make an impact. It all begins with you.
Creating conscious cultures in large businesses still boils down to leadership. It begins with one or more leaders modeling the approach to economics and capitalism.
What are the rewards of conscious capitalism and conscious communications? Research finds that conscious businesses consistently outperform the market financially. In the second edition of the book “Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose,” authored by Raj Sisodia, Jagdish N. Sheth, and David Wolfe, the ratio of success for conscious culture businesses indicated a more successful profit margin by 14:1.
14:1! This is mind-blowing data. It is the kind of information that should make every entrepreneur want to read “Firms of Endearment” as soon as possible. For solopreneurs, conscious capitalism is a lifesaver to keep your business from drowning. Want something shorter, a quicker read? Try Jeff Klein’s “It’s Just Good Business,” published by Working for Good Publications. Actually written as an elementary primer on conscious capitalism, it will stimulate your creativity in a way that can improve your revenue nearly immediately.
Just who are some of the firms of endearment that were studied and found to be examples of success? You’ll recognize just a few on the list:
Whole Foods Market
The Container Store
The Motley Fool
The Chief Executive Officer for Whole Foods, John Mackey, has a very insightful story of his company’s road to success in “Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business: Conscious Capitalism.” His book is another wonderful primer that will motivate you to embrace the new business model.
Begin exploring this model of business. You won’t be able to eat the elephant at once, so implement small practices of conscious business and measure each for its outcome. If it doesn’t work for you, what have you lost? If it does, create a true business plan based on the concept.
Additional ideas to foster your understanding of conscious and mindful business practices:
- Join a LinkedIn group that discusses the topics such as Conscious Capitalism Movement, Conscious Women in Business, Conscious Business Friends, and any other group that may appeal to the part of you that you want to expand and develop. If you don’t have an interest in these groups, then create one of your own. You can do this on LinkedIn, but also on Facebook. Finding an online support community can educate you, motivate you, and improve your critical thinking on the topic we’re sharing here.
- Expand your engagement with like-minded business people by exploring Meet Up in your city. You may find particular events that will be very valuable or even regular groups that provide soul nourishment while you bravely move forward eating the elephant.
- The Conscious Capitalism movement has established chapters that you may pay a modest fee to join. Visit http://www.consciouscapitalism.org/chapters There at least 26 chapters in the United States and one in each of 12 different countries. These chapters allow for ongoing dialogue with individuals and companies already devoted to the business model. The chapters typically have monthly meetings and many special presentations and events. There is even an annual conference for Conscious Capitalism.
- Find podcasts about the mindfulness movement and economics to inspire you as you embark on this path. Conscious Leadership Weekly with Kymm Nelson, Conscious Millionaire with JV Crum III, or Tony Lloyd’s Social Entrepreneur can all be found through iTunes podcast store. You can also find a high profile mentor in the mindfulness business and visit their website to see if they offer audio or even video podcasts. During any commute you make, switch from today’s headlines to something much more optimistic and listen to great ideas from some of the podcast conversations you’ll hear.