Just like every person has a philosophy, so does every business and organization. The philosophy that has dominated the business world since the industrial revolution was built on the notion that the purpose of a business is to maximize profits. But this belief system is rapidly eroding the very profits it claims to be producing, and is thus losing its legitimacy as a viable and sustainable business philosophy and approach.
Conscious Business philosophy has emerged as a new leadership paradigm that transcends the current and mainly fear driven “stick-and-carrot”/”command-and-control” paradigm. Conscious Business focuses on the notion that purpose-optimization precedes profit-optimization, and that businesses exist to serve a higher purpose than just simply increasing the bottom line. When implemented and adopted by an organization, the conscious business philosophy can result in higher profits and lower overhead costs, increases in employee contentment and less turnover, and fantastic stakeholder relations and customer experiences.
Every organization is built on people, and most people are seeking more than just financial security from their work. Increasingly, employees are seeking engagement that satisfies deeper needs for spiritual and emotional contentment, which can come from aligning their work with their values, passions and “authentic” self. The same is true from consumers, shareholders, suppliers, communities and other stakeholders. Conscious businesses are satisfying this need by making business decisions based on higher purpose and creating value for the world at large, rather than tagging on a corporate social responsibility program to their business model in order to manage their reputation and perception of their brand.
Many prominent international brands have adopted or been founded on the conscious business approach, including Whole Foods, Patagonia, LinkedIn and Holacracy. Despite this, Conscious Business remains the road less traveled largely because it’s counter-cultural, unconventional and seemingly paradoxical. But this is changing, as millennials and other stakeholders want a more Conscious Culture to form an integral part of the business model.
There are a few synergistic principles to running a Conscious Business:
- Wholeness (for a great description fast-forward to 52:36 in the Fredric Laloux video below)
- Conscious Leadership
- Conscious Culture
- Stakeholder Integration (described below as “Win6“ by Whole Foods Market Founder and Co-CEO John Mackey)