Daily Archives: April 22, 2007

Conscious Capitalism – a summary

Conscious Capitalism – is a blog I came across yesterday. I am always interested in people that pose new out-of-the-box ideas for business and shift our thinking into what is best in the interest of all. John Mackey, founder and CEO of the Whole Foods Market writes a regular blog on the company website. His lengthy article poses the question of what the purpose of a business is? This is definitely a question one doesn’t always think about, he says. He argues that the purpose of business goes far beyond that of just making profit. Mackey puts forward four ideals as he calls it, that are expressed by great businesses in the world today. I have provided a short summery of these important yet basic parameters around which I believe all businesses should function. The first great purpose that great businesses express is "The Good" by being of "Service to others". He believes that, genuine empathy leads to the development, growth, and expression of love, care, and compassion. Great businesses dedicated to the great purpose of "Service to others" also develop methods to grow the emotional intelligence of their organizations, an emotional intelligence that nourishes and encourages love, care, and compassion towards customers, employees, and the larger community. Mackey’s second ideal is "The True"the "excitement of discovery and the pursuit of truth". There is a great drive to discover that which has not unfolded yet.. the ultimate discovery.. Here Mackey uses Google, Intel, Genentech, Amgen, and Medtronic as examples of great companies motivated by the "excitement of discovery and the pursuit of truth". All these companies have greatly benefited humanity through their successful fulfillment of this great purpose. The third great purpose that we find at the core of great businesses is "The Beautiful", which can best be expressed in business through the search for "excellence and the quest for perfection". These companies that use this ideal more explicitly include Apple (most obvious), and Four Seasons Hotels. Mackey’s last ideal that inspires many great businesses is "The Heroic"— changing and improving the world through heroic efforts. These businesses have a strong desire to change the world, and to solve issues that seem unsolvable and to really make a profound change in the world today, no matter the risk involved. Mackey’s best example of a truly heroic enterprise is the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh begun by Muhammed Yunus. His heroic dedication to ending poverty in Bangladesh and throughout the world resulted his winning the 2006 Nobel Peace prize. Mackey recommends reading his book Banker to the Poor for an inspiring tale of heroic enterprise. What Mackey stresses, is that the best way to make profit in companies over a long period of time is not to make it the primary goal of the business. He instead uses the concept of "happiness" as a means to achieving the goals by having a strong sense of purpose, good friends, good health and loving relationships around you. John Mackey truly has the understanding and vision of the what we call the "new paradigm". However, the principles he mentions have been around forever, yet we are only now able to understand them more clearly. Ultimately we have to thank films such as, The Secret & What the Bleep for setting the road forward and making them more acceptable, particluarly in the work place.

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