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The Tenets of Conscious Capitalism


The four key principles that are the basis of the Conscious Capitalism philosophy are summarized below:

Higher Purpose

Business can and should be done with a higher purpose in mind, not just with a view to maximizing profits. A compelling sense of purpose creates an extraordinary degree of engagement for all stakeholders and catalyzes the generation and release of tremendous amounts of organizational energy. While there may be many purposes that businesses can potentially have, we believe that the highest ideals that human beings aspire for can be great indicators for the highest purpose of a business.

Some timeless ideals and examples of companies that follow them are:

  1. The Good: Service to others—improving health, education, communication, and the quality of life. Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom’s, The Container Store, Amazon.com, Zappos, and Joie de Vivre Hospitality are examples of businesses motivated by this great purpose.
  2. The True: Discovery and furthering human knowledge. Google, Intel, Genentech, and Wikipedia all express this higher aspiration.
  3. The Beautiful: Excellence and the creation of beauty. Apple, BMW and Four Seasons Hotels share this ideal in their own unique ways.
  4. The Heroic: The courage to do what is right to change and improve the world. The Grameen Bank, The Gates Foundation and Whole Foods Market express this higher purpose in many of their actions.

Stakeholder Alignment

Conscious businesses are explicitly managed for the simultaneous benefit of all of their stakeholders. These were represented originally in the book Firms of Endearment by the acronym SPICE: Society, Partners, Investors, Customers, and Employees and later changed to SPICEE to factor in the Environment. A conscious business aligns the interests of all stakeholders so that what is good for one is good for all. Society is listed first for an important reason: businesses must ensure that they are on the “right” side of society, i.e., that they have a positive net impact on the world.

Conscious Leadership

Conscious leaders are driven primarily by service to the firm’s purpose and people, rather than by power or money. They leaders lead by mentoring, motivating, developing, and inspiring people, not through command-and-control or the use of “carrot and stick” incentives.

Conscious leadership is all about establishing an inner state of connectedness with oneself and being able to operate with that internal locus of control. This requires developing a state of being that is balanced at all levels – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

Without conscious leadership, there cannot be a higher purpose or a conscious culture, preconditions for stakeholder alignment and deeper relationships. Conscious leadership is characterized by virtues such as love, courage, compassion, equanimity, authenticity, intuitiveness and humility.

Conscious Culture

Conscious leadership creates a conscious culture. In its essence, this is a culture that enables and empowers employees to participate fully in realizing the higher purpose and living the timeless values of the organization, creating conditions that help foster positive stakeholder relationships that are a win-win-win for all.

Whilst the values that embody such a culture can be expressed in many ways by conscious organizations, we have used TACTILE – Trust, Accountability, Caring, Transparency, Integrity, Learning and Egalitarianism, as a way of defining the elements of this culture.


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