I just read an interesting interview with Kip Tindell, chairman and CEO of The Container Store and a leader of a growing movement called Conscious Capitalism which teaches business leaders to create shared value by making their companies more successful and competitive while advancing the quality of life for the community and the world.
The concept of Conscious Capitalism is consistent with a personal philosophy that I shared with a colleague several years ago — there’s plenty of business for everyone that plays nice and plays by the rules.
Sadly, we see a lot of individuals who do neither making a lot of money at the expense of others (i.e., executives at Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Bank of America, et.al.).
Conscious Capitalism puts purpose before profits with the belief that balancing the needs of all of a business’ stakeholders — employees, customers, suppliers, community and shareholders — is the right thing to do and will result in a more profitable and successful business.
Four businesses that exemplify Conscious Capitalism are The Container Store, Whole Foods, Zappos and Southwest Airlines. All four of these companies put employees first and focus on providing an outstanding customer experience — both of which are integral to the second tenet since employees and customers are both key stakeholders.
- Higher purpose. Also known as the “mission” — the purpose of the company beyond making a profit or dominating a market position. A compelling sense of purpose can create a high level of engagement by the stakeholders and generate tremendous organizational energy.
- Stakeholder orientation. Explicitly managed for the good of all stakeholders including customers, employees, investors, suppliers and the larger communities in which the business participates. By creating value for all stakeholders, the whole system advances. Zappos is making a dramatic contribution to their community by significantly revitalizing a “dead” downtown Las Vegas.
- Conscious leadership. Management is driven by service to the firm’s higher purpose and focuses on delivering value to the stakeholders. Conscious leaders adopt a holistic worldview that goes well beyond the limitations of traditional business. Enterprises, and individuals, are part of a complex, interdependent and evolving system with multiple constituencies.
- Conscious culture as captured by the acronym TACTILE. T = trust. A = authenticity. C = caring. T = transparency. I = integrity. L = learning. E = empowerment. A conscious culture is very tangible to stakeholders and outside observers.
Another result is long-term trusted relationships with suppliers, consistent with The Integrity Chain, which is more profitable for both parties.
Would your company benefit by following the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism?
What is your higher purpose?
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