Yes, businesses can be good, ethical, noble and heroic.
If you’ve met me in person you might have heard my views and take on management, leadership, and business. And if not, you might have seen some of it expressed in the blogs I’ve been writing here on Medium.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have great conversations about my thoughts with a couple of people lately: Doug Levy, former owner of imc², current owner of TapGoods and Technology Spa. And also Dave O’Hara, President of Improving Enterprises.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out from them that things I had been thinking about already had a name! It’s called Conscious Capitalism.
“We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to even more.” — Conscious Capitalist Credo
Their four pillars summarizes things I’ve thought about before but expresses it in much more detail and much better words than I ever would have.
- Higher Purpose — While making money is essential for the vitality and sustainability of a business, it is not the only or even the most important reason a business exists. Conscious businesses focus on their purpose beyond profit.
- Stakeholder Orientation — Unlike some businesses that believe they only exist to maximize return on investment for their shareholders, Conscious Businesses recognize that, without employees, customers, suppliers, funders, supportive communities and a life-sustaining ecosystem, there is no business. Conscious Business is a win-win-win proposition, which includes a healthy return to shareholders.
- Conscious Leadership — Conscious Leaders focus on “we,” rather than “me.” They inspire, foster transformation and bring out the best in those around them.
- Conscious Culture — Culture is the embodied values, principles and practices underlying the social fabric of a business … it fosters love and care and builds trust between a company’s team members and its other stakeholders.
What excites me about this is a few things:
- that I wasn’t crazy and there are other people that think this way
- there are companies that are run by leaders who think this way
- that someone had already thought about this in WAY MORE detail than I have and had gone as far as to create an organization with a blueprint for everyone to follow
I’m really excited about this and I look forward to a future where more companies run by these principles.
I think we have a great future ahead y’all — at least until we get hit by an Earth-ending asteroid. In that case, the next pool of Primordial Soup better come up with this again.
Check out the site here: https://www.consciouscapitalism.org/
Additional reading: Companies that Practice “Conscious Capitalism” Perform 10x Better
And no, I am not affiliated to this organization in anyway; by pure coincidence I actually happen to align with their values.
If you have some time to kill check out some of my other thoughts here.