Forum

Finding Meaning in a Capitalistic World

Ryan George

Director of Communications

Sep 29, 2015

While many businesses focus solely on money and often define success by monetary measures, a new way of thinking is gaining momentum and changing the way many companies function.

The idea of Conscious Capitalism is making its way into more and more boardrooms with the idea of creating a greater commitment to truth and leading meaningful lives.

At the 2015 1st Global Eagles Executive Forum, I had the opportunity to sit down with Raj Sisodia, professor and author of “Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose” and co-author of “Conscious Capitalism,” to discuss the Conscious Capitalism movement and how it benefits businesses. Sisodia believes it is integral for businesses to create positive value and establish lasting meaning for not only their customers but everyone involved in the company, as well.

Conscious Capitalism applies four key tenets as core values: higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious culture and conscious leadership. Sisodia said that many businesses try to find success through the use of tactics when what they really need to utilize are tenets. While a tactic causes one to change a course of action, a tenet creates a change in fundamental beliefs.

“If you're not changing at the level of your belief system, and you're simply changing your tactics to say, ‘I'll now do these things because that's what leads to making more and more money,’ then fundamentally you're still in the same mental model,” Sisodia said. “You're still about using people in order for your own purposes as opposed to saying, ‘There's a higher purpose, and a lot of us are moving toward that.’ Treating people well and having them go home safe and healthy and fulfilled and having them have a positive impact on their families and their communities is a good thing fundamentally, a right thing, the right thing to do.”

Sisodia co-authored “Conscious Capitalism” with John Mackey, co-CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods Market, after recognizing the unique vision the company has as a business built on love and not fear while continuously advancing capitalism further toward its strongest potential. Sisodia said he believes Whole Foods and other successful businesses such as Southwest Airlines, Costco, Google and many more are ideal models of the Conscious Capitalism movement and apply the four tenets previously mentioned.

He has the research to prove it. Sisodia’s research in Firms of Endearment found that conscious companies outperformed the market nearly 9-to-1 over a 10-year period.

“It’s good for businesses to make a profit and return because that’s ultimately what fuels a lot of things in society,” he said. “So if you can achieve that and simultaneously have a social dimension and, of course, create great places to work for employees and have a positive impact on the lives of customers and all of the stakeholders, that’s really what Conscious Capitalism is.”

The financial services industry, Sisodia said, is one that could also highly benefit from using the tenets of Conscious Capitalism in the way it conducts business with its clients and in the way it operates as a whole. He said this way of functioning as a company is needed more than ever in this particular sector.

“Every industry has a built-in higher purpose—the reason it exists, the reason it came into being was that there was a need in society,” he said. “But over time, you tend to, and especially in the last century, move away from that and toward just making money as being the purpose, right? You need money in every business, but if it becomes just about the money, then you lose sight of that purpose. The financial sector plays a vital role in a simplistic way, basically capturing all of the savings of society and then funneling them into the most productive, the most keenly felt needs that we have. So channeling investment in the right way and funding the right thing so that it'll then result in maximum impact back on society, which will then result in good financial performance—it’s about basically providing a fuel for the real economy to function.

The movement toward Conscious Capitalism is a drastic change for many companies, but it’s one that Sisodia knows will ultimately benefit society as a whole. But it’s also something that the younger generations are seeking and will bring more into the workforce, he noted—millennials are rapidly entering the workforce and will make up 50 percent of it in the U.S. by year 2020 and 75 percent by year 2025. People are seeking more to have businesses match up with their words, which is an important component of transitioning to Conscious Capitalism as a standard practice.

“Then you measure success by the way we touch the lives of people, and here's what we believe in and trust [through] caring and inspiring and celebrating,” Sisodia said. “Everybody wants meaning, they want purpose, they want fulfillment. I know they want caring, they want to be inspired, and they want to be celebrated, recognized.”


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Raj Sisodia is the author of seven books and more than 100 academic articles and is also a founding member of the Conscious Capitalism movement. Conscious Capitalism is a belief of capitalism and business as reflections of the state of people and society today and how businesses can positively impact the world. Businesses that practice this way of thinking are more concerned with higher purpose and living meaningful lives that strive to create positive value in all of their customers and stakeholders.

1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 12750 Merit Drive, Suite 1200 in Dallas, Texas 75251; (214) 294-5000. Additional information about 1st Global is available via the Internet at www.1stGlobal.com.

 


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