We work to make a living and we hope that what we do makes a difference in the world. Yet often it feels like the companies we work for exist only to make a profit, and do so at the expense of employee well-being. There's no room for the word 'love' in the workplace, it's all business. And so we leave love at home, along with the better part of ourselves. What if we're wrong? What if we've simply forgotten Henry Ford who said "A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large." — and lived it!
Recently I joined 300 business leaders, academics, entrepreneurs and consultants at the 4th Conscious Capitalism Conference at Bentley University. The theme woven throughout was 'Building a Flourishing Business on Love and Care'. Speakers included founders and CEOs from such highly successful, profitable companies as Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and The Container Store — all of whom have been doing just that for decades.
How are these businesses different from 'regular' companies? In a nutshell, they have a higher purpose beyond profit maximization; they work to align the interests of employees, customers, suppliers, the community, and shareholders; and their leaders serve and create by example a conscious culture of love, care and trust in which people own their choices and take responsibility for their actions. The result is a conscious enterprise that fosters peace and happiness in the individual, respect and solidarity in the community, and mission accomplishment in the organization including very happy shareholders. How refreshing! Nothing 'touchy-feely' about this!
Raj Sisodia, Chair of the Marketing Department at Bentley, describes a 10-year study showing that companies chosen for these characteristics — higher purpose, stakeholder synergy, and service — consistently outperformed the market; and never more dramatically so than after the economic downturn of 2008. Listen to Raj's description of the bottom-line results of these conscious businesses and read more in his book 'Firms of Endearment'.
These principles seem equally applicable when we set out to build community in our neighborhoods, grow resilient families, and pretty much in any enterprise involving human beings, including growing ourselves. Simply ask:
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