There’s a movement of business leaders that are taking the concept of “doing well by doing good” very seriously, and they are killing it. Both in terms of impact and profit.
If you read my writing you might have noticed I’m a fan of Elon Musk. He embodies a concept called “conscious capitalism” in each company that he creates. His companies are actively creating a better future for humanity. You can read my previous article about his impact here.
But he’s not the only one. In his book 1st book “Conscious Capitalism” and 2nd book “Firms of Endearment”, Raj Sisodia looked at companies he identified as the most “conscious” based on characteristics such as their stated purpose, generosity of compensation, quality of customer service, investment in their communities, and impact on the environment. These companies outperformed the S&P 500 index by a factor of 14x from 1998-2013.
What is a Firm of Endearment or Conscious Business?
A conscious business has a higher purpose beyond just making money. It has leadership that embodies the higher purpose and a culture which nurtures it employees to achieve that higher purpose so that all stakeholders can flourish. Tony Schwartz writes in the Harvard Business Review, “Conscious companies treat their stakeholders better. As a consequence, their suppliers are happier to do business with them. Employees are more engaged, productive, and likely to stay. These companies are more welcome in their communities and their customers are more satisfied and loyal. The most conscious companies give more, and they get more in return. The inescapable conclusion: it pays to care, widely and deeply.” (Translation: Giving a S#!T = More Money)
But that is not the point here. Profit is a side effect. These companies are changing the world for the better, and nurturing their employees in the process. Profit means they can keep growing, but profit is not the purpose. Each of these companies has a higher purpose, and the ability to be profitable means they are sustainable and can spread their purpose to positively impact more people.
Conscious Capitalism is not a strategy to make more profits, it doesn’t work like that. It’s a methodology to make the world a better place in the context of the capitalist structure. Have you heard of TOMS shoes? Blake Mycoskie created a “One for One” business model so that for every pair of shoes you buy, another pair is given to someone in need. He’s replicated this business model again and again, selling sunglasses and giving prescription glasses to someone in need, a bag of coffee for a week of water, and the book you can see here for every copy sold a child in need gets a children’s book. In 2014 he announced TOMS would be starting a new “One for One” offer every year.
Capitalism has gotten a bad rap in recent years, being blamed for the financial crisis to inequality to why your second marriage failed. But as John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods and Co-Author of Conscious Capitalism states, “business is the greatest creator of value in the world.” Capitalism is not evil, nor is it good. It is a system, a tool for us to use. A knife can be used to murder someone or it can be used to prepare food. Is capitalism the best possible system? Perhaps not, but we currently live in a capitalist world, at least for the foreseeable future, so let’s make the best out of what we have.
What can you do?
1 – As a team member, see how you can spread a culture of conscious capitalism to your colleagues by inspiring them with a higher purpose.
2 – As a leader, think how you can be conscious in your decisions and vision to guide your team to fulfill that higher purpose.
3 – As a consumer, think about how each product or service was delivered to you, and demand through your power of choice to choose more conscious brands.
4 – As an entrepreneur, think first of what difference you want to make in the world, then go create a sustainable business model that fuels your journey towards making that impact.
So in other words, whether you want to be rich or influential, think consciously about the people around you, think about the planet and “Start Giving a S#!T” :-O
Hey You – Awesome Human!
I write about how we can reach our potential through conscious evolution – personal, social and planetary – and share tips, tools and technologies you can use to live from a better space, make humans a better race and make the world a better place.
I’m always interested in humans who care about making a difference, so connect with me here and inspire me with your Dream 🙂