A Book Report?
After elementary school, I thought my book report days were over. I never imagined that I would ever be compelled to write another one. But, time heals all wounds. I’m writing this one voluntarily.
I’ve published numerous posts about Jim Collins’ 2001 business best seller, Good To Great. Thousands of readers have enjoyed my insights on:
- Getting the right people on the bus and the wrong people off.
- The Pursuit of Level 5 Leadership
- and Good Is The Enemy of Great
From the volume of web traffic, I learned that a lot of people were interested in (if not committed to) pursuing greatness. So I wrote more. In 2009, I shared how hard times had fallen upon 3 of the book’s 11 G2G Companies. One went bankrupt. Since then, two others (Wells Fargo and Fannie Mae) were involved in the mortgage meltdown. With that, 45% of the elite eleven could NOT sustain their great financial performances. Of the six remaining, one is tobacco company Phillip Morris. Isn’t that great?
After a nice ride, I’m off the Good to Great Bandwagon.
Conscious Capitalism: The New Good To Great?
So here’s my book report for Conscious Capitalism. I believe it provides leaders with a more sustainable framework for pursuing prosperity. As with Good To Great, Conscious Capitalism can not be a flavor-of-the-month. It requires commitment and transformation in the way you think and act. If it were easy, everyone could do it.
Let’s admit sometimes capitalism runs amok. We’ve witnessed greed driven events like the mortgage meltdown and the Enron implosion. There were a lot of big losers and very few winners. These “greed driven events” are not unique in the history of capitalism. The Haymarket Riot happened in 1886. At the root of all these examples is:
The single minded pursuit of PROFIT.
Conscious Capitalism was published in 2014 and is co-authored by:
- John Mackey – The Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market
- Raj Sisodia – A Leader of the Conscious Capitalism Movement
Pursuit of Profits
We’ve listened to Nobel Prize winning economists and other experts speak of the importance of profits since the Industrial Revolution. Despite their bad name, profits are still a necessity, not a luxury. They are the fuel for the engine of capitalism. We can’t live without them. But when pursued as the single purpose, your train is more likely to derail.
One of the many profound concepts in the book borrows from Victor Frankel’s idea that:
“Happiness is not something to be pursued. It is something that ensues.”
They suggest that the same is true for profits.
The Four Tenants of Conscious Capitalism
Conscious Capitalism goes FAR beyond the idea of doing well by doing good. Do not dismiss it with that thought. Get it. Read it. It’s like four books in one as the four tenants are compelling and insightful on their own.
- Higher Purpose: People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. When that bigger thing aligns with their values, carrots and sticks become obsolete. This is true for company team members, customers and beyond.
- Stakeholder Orientation: As I shared above, the single minded pursuit of profit is how capitalism can create win-lose scenarios. The multiple stakeholders of any business comprise a delicate ecosystem. Single minded pursuit of profit for profit is replaced by an understanding of the inter-dependance of stakeholders.
- 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.
A Prosperous Portfolio
I confess that I’ve not been a “fan” or customer of Whole Foods Market. I apparently haven’t been all that conscious. So I didn’t get it. But John Mackey has raised my awareness and understanding of their value proposition just as Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz did with his book Onward. Both books have helped me begin to “get it”.
Even unconscious capitalists will be impressed by the list of financially successful companies on their list of conscious capitalism practitioners who have prospered over time.
- Southwest Airlines – read The Ant, The Lion & The Airline
- The Container Store
- Trader Joe’s
- Zappos/ Amazon
- The Motley Fool
- The Tara Group
- Brighter Horizons
- Panera Bread
Their sustained financial performance speaks for itself.
Author Raj Sisodia’s Ted Talk
While Raj is not as dynamic as Simon Sinek, his presentation supports my suggestion WHY Conscious Capitalism should succeed Good To Great as the business bible for building sustained greatness.