Conscious capitalism is a philosophy based on the idea that business elevates humanity. It’s a belief that capitalism works, but it can be applied in a more human, empathetic way. The Conscious Capitalist Credo thoroughly captures this sentiment.
“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,” the Credo says.
“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. And we can aspire to even more.”
The conscious capitalism philosophy recognizes the value that capitalism has brought to the world, but it also acknowledges its flaws. When an organization’s primary motivator is purely the bottom line there can be horrifying consequences, especially when morality is removed from the calculations of accountability. The four pillars of conscious capitalism provide guidance to help correct behaviors that we feel are wrong, but are not easily justified on a spreadsheet.
I currently work for Improving, which is a conscious company. From my personal experience, I can tell you that this philosophy has drastically changed how I feel about my job every day. When I am working with a conscious leader, I can see that they live their values. There is not a “do what I say not what I do” mentality.
Working at a company with a clear purpose beyond just making a profit means that I am making the world a better place every time I go to work. A conscious company’s stakeholder orientation means that my contributions are valued. I am treated with trust, respect, and dignity. Working in a company with a conscious culture means that my values aren’t just statements on the walls because I can see them in everyone I work with.
Once you see and feel the difference that working for a conscious company makes in your life, it will be impossible for you to go back. I used to think being excited to go to work on Mondays was a myth. It’s not! The companies that can create passion inside of you are actually out there. They are worth looking for, and they are also worth building.
Let’s turn this article around. What about you? Are you happy where you are? Do your values line up with what you do on a day-to-day basis? I would encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the values that speak to you. Here is an exercise that will help to identify those values. Ask yourself:
- Do you want to be in a place that is committed to growing your skills, career, and nurtures your ambitions?
- Do you want to be in a place that shares in the rewards, listens, and values your contributions?
- Do you want to be in a place where the leadership holds themselves accountable and lives into what they say?
- Do you want to be in a place where your work is worth more to you at the end of the day than just the paycheck you take home?
Now that you know the values of a company that uses the conscious capitalism philosophy and you have defined some of your own values… take a look around you. Where is your company succeeding in joining those two values? If you want to create positive change in your work life, you need to focus on the good that your company already does effectively and take steps to make it stronger. That is what being a member of the Conscious Capitalism movement is all about.
Leaders and teammates also need to ask these questions: Do you work with great people? How are you helping them achieve their goals, feel respected, and heard? Does your company do or make something that makes you feel proud? How do you assist in spreading that message and helping them get the recognition they deserve for the value they add to the world?
Life at a conscious capitalism company is about leaning in every day to make it better. So, while you can't force your company to adopt this philosophy, you can live it. You can show its value by becoming a conscious leader within your organization. The strongest tool for change in your life is always going to be you.
However, if you can learn the tools and techniques well enough to teach them to the people around you then you will be able to accelerate that change. How, where, and on whom you decide to spend your time, energy, and passions are where your rewards will come from. You should look for the people that have the most capacity to effect positive change in their own lives. They will be the ones most likely to help you.
I wish you well on your conscious capitalism journey. Once you start on this path, you may find it useful to spend some time with people that share the same values and who are also trying to positively change the business world one small culture shift at a time. Improving is involved in several local Conscious Capitalism chapters that can help you learn some of these tools and techniques or meet fellow travelers on the same journey. Reach out to learn more.