|I recently attended the annual Future Frontiers conference in Austin, |
And after a somewhat sobering interview with Psychologist Ken Wilber,
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, began to speak.
Most of the conversation revolved around the courtship with Jeff Bezos
prior to becoming part of the Amazon family. John spoke of his need to
know that his commitment to a culture of “Conscious Capitalism” at
Whole Foods would endure once they became part of Amazon. As I
listened to his philosophy, I realized that it seemed to parallel, in context,with our continuing examination into the distinctions that characterize
the Economics of Decency, as we have discussed previously.
The commonality of these two philosophies is simply:
If you treat people with consciousness and a concern for your impact on
them, in business or in life, you will get a higher return on your effort
than if you do not!
What do we mean by consciousness? I think the Harvard review
summed up consciousness beautifully: The word “conscious” has many
connotations for people. We define it as being mindful and awake, seeing reality as it is rather than as we wish it to be, recognizing and being
accountable for all the consequences of our actions, having a better sense
of what is right and what is wrong, rejecting violence as a way to solve
problems and being in harmony with nature.
I’m discovering there is a growing movement in business for what we’recalling the Economics of Decency, the realization that how we treat peopleaffects the outcomes of our interactions. There is pretty compelling
evidence for paying attention to a business model that includes a
dedication to consciousness or decency. In searching for statistics on the
benefits of decency in business, I came across the statistical research of
Sisodia found in his research that brands identifying as Conscious Capital Companies have investment returns 1025% over the past 10 years,
compared to only 122% for the S&P 500 and 316% for the companies
profiled in the bestselling book “Good to Great”—companies selected
purely on the basis of their ability to deliver superior returns to
It pays to wake up!
Now, I’m pretty confident that most people that read that would say, “but of course!” So, here’s the rub. Is our behavior consistent with “of
Looking at Society, I have to, at a minimum, express some concern. For
example, notice the ugly discourse in our politics that seems to be seeping into our culture, which as a Society, we not only tolerate, but indulge.
We are even entertained by it. It has become our personal VR. This
tolerance is costing us in business and it’s costing us in our personal andwork lives. They do go together. The consequence could be dire for
The bigger rub is that it is just not necessary. Some of our most powerful
results have come out of coaching dueling C-suite players. It just took
awareness to blind spots that were producing undesired impacts they
could not at first see. What I love about people is that when they see an
undesired impact they are making, they will make changes on their own!
In the business leaders with whom we serve, we see a growing hunger
for life composed of a greater expression of respect, kindness, and
decency. I hope I’m not being naïve, although that doesn’t change my
thought. I have great confidence in the generation of Millennials. They
get this! They are the new leaders of today and tomorrow. They will be
the Executives guiding corporations, the C-Suite owners and my
confidence lies in their wisdom to build enterprises on feeding that
There are simple tools for this, both in life and at work. In business, the
employees model what they see management do, like our children do
with us. In life, our actions follow our thinking and our beliefs. The
strongest leaders will emerge out of those willing to do the deep
introspective work. They will uncover the hidden beliefs that drive their
thinking and behavior, and hence their actions. Uncovered, you can
make useful changes, instead of just continuing to validate and deepen
long held beliefs. Back to those pesky blind spots again!
Open your heart, raise your torch, lead the way!
Cheers and thanks,