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Are you a conscious business leader?

I just came back from a three-day Conscious Capitalism Annual Conference hosted in my home state of Arizona. I am a huge advocate of this movement as it truly is everything we teach and bring into the companies we work with at U & Improved. But what exactly is it? What does being a Conscious Capitalist actually mean?

Conscious Capitalism is a movement based around the theory that while capitalism has gotten a bad rap for quite a while, it is, indeed, the greatest socio-economic system ever created, and it has lifted more people from poverty than any other system known to mankind. However, over time this system has become tainted, and it has (oftentimes deservingly so) received a reputation of being all about profits above all else… a “make as much as you can at all costs and by whatever means necessary” system. The truth of the matter is, in many companies and industries, that is exactly what has happened.

Conscious Capitalism touts that business is, and should always be, a force for good. When love and business combine, magic can happen. Did I just say, LOVE…and BUSINESS? How can those two things ever be combined?

Quite easily, actually. The four tenets of Conscious Capitalism revolve around the idea that having a business with heart is the best kind of business to have. In my humble opinion, it’s the only kind of business to have.

The tenets of Conscious Capitalism include:

  1. Having a Higher Purpose: What does your business stand for and believe in? It must be something beyond profits. We know that businesses must make money to survive and thrive, and as capitalists, the theory is that a healthy and successful business is one that is making money and generating great returns. But, why else does your business exist beyond just making money? What is your company’s “Why”? Once you have this figured out, you are on your way.


  1. Having a Stakeholder Orientation: It’s not about shareholders, it’s about taking into consideration all of the stakeholders that are involved and a part of your business. How do you treat your vendors, suppliers, internal staff, leadership team, etc? Are their voices heard? Does everyone matter? Are decisions made based on creating win-win scenarios for everyone whenever possible?


  1. Conscious Leadership: Are the leaders of your organization open, caring, compassionate, vulnerable, authentic and passionate? Do they exemplify this in how they lead? If so, you may very well have a conscious leader, and let me tell you, conscious leaders attract and retain great talent. Why? Because people want to work with someone who is leading them from their heart, not from their wallet.


  1. Conscious Culture: A business becomes conscious when there is utmost importance placed on creating an exemplary culture. What values does your company have and what do you stand for? How are these values displayed amongst your team members, your interactions both internally and with your external customer? What won’t you stand for or tolerate as an organization? We’re not talking about ping pong tables and bean bag chairs, here. Those things don’t create a company culture. It’s about the people.


In hearing from John Mackey, CEO Whole Foods Market, Kip Tindell, the creator of the Container Store, and dozens and dozens of other conscious capitalists over the years there is one thing that I know with absolute certainty. This “one thing” is what I have always known in my core, and why I do the work that I do. People are the lifeblood of your organization. Treat them well… care for them, listen to them, nurture them and help them grow. Give your people the tools and resources they need and deserve in order to shine, and in order to live their best lives, both at work and at home. When you lead from the heart and lead with love, watch what happens to your business. It may sound scary…or different. That’s okay. Do it anyway. Because it’s the right thing to do. And if you need help, reach out. There are people all around you that are here and willing to help you take your company from average to outstanding simply by shifting the way you think about, and lead, in your business. Trust me on this one, you have everything to gain, and so do the people you surround yourself with. Win-win.