Increasingly, conscious capitalism includes discussion of how companies can positively impact their communities and the planet. Being “socially responsible” in essence provides customer service to these entities deserving and needing our support.
In an Inc.com article, contributor Mandy Gilbert describes five tips to creating a socially conscious business. She notes: “…creating a company that’s closely tied with giving back will create a more profitable business for a number of reasons. Not only does it feel good for the soul, but it builds loyalty and retention. Socially conscious organizations give their employees a greater purpose that goes beyond clocking in and clocking out. That’s why ‘leading with purpose’ and a ‘values driven business model’ are often ways for businesses to attract talent.”
Here’s a compelling example of how doing good creates good outcomes at a variety of levels, including company profitability. Along the way, it supports customers and employees, in turn building the loyalty and retention so needed in both arenas. Social consciousness also gives employees and sometimes other stakeholders who get involved (e.g., customers and partners) a supportive role in their communities and the planet, for the greater good. What’s not to like?
It’s also a 180-degree departure from capitalism’s “greed-based” model, exemplified so well by Michael Douglas in the movie, “Wall Street.” As Gordon Gekko, he famously says: “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed – for lack of a better word – is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind.”
Conscious capitalism is evolving us past greed. Instead of a zero-sum game, where somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, everyone can come out ahead—including the bean counters. As companies like Costco demonstrate so effectively, taking care of customers, employees and other stakeholders makes for a very profitable business as well.
Hypocrisy and self-serving motives have no place in socially conscious businesses
When it comes to donating time and resources to good causes, be authentic. Doing good is its own reward, and will shine through to show what’s been done. Excessive self-promotion about it is disingenuous and can actually make the company look like it’s more invested in gaining PR points than anything else.
To help make this happen, Gilbert notes in her article, “Actually care. It’s great that you’ve sponsored a little league team or built a playground for the local community, but anyone can donate money. While no doubt admirable, it will do little for your organization if you don’t feel connected to the cause in some way. Otherwise, you’re more likely to let it slide.”
None of this is rocket science
Giving back to the community, helping the planet, supporting each other in a symbiotic business setting all make a lot of sense on a variety of levels. Squeezing out every possible cent of profit by preying upon the community, ravaging the planet and making money on the backs of multiple stakeholders doesn’t make sense when viewed holistically.
That said, it’s amazing that corporate America is just now awakening to the ideas of conscious capitalism and social responsibility at a meaningful level. Hopefully, the pace will quicken, the scope will grow, and we all will see the benefits in our lifetimes.
Conscious Capitalism provides a sustainable roadmap for the capitalist system and a clear, consistent path to customer service excellence with all stakeholders—from customers and employees to partners and investors. Its importance and influence are summed up on the website ccsandiego.org: “Conscious Capitalism is a global movement co-founded by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market and Raj Sisodia, Ph.D., renowned author and business leader. With membership around the world made up of companies like Trader Joes, Costco, Panera and Southwest Airlines, Conscious Capitalism is a way of thinking about capitalism and business that better reflects where we are in the human journey, the state of our world today, and the innate potential of business to make a positive impact on the world.”
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Mark Lusky (aka The Happy Curmudgeon)
is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm. He’s a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience, and author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage.