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Is Socially Conscious Capitalism an Oxymoron?

I’ve noticed that most young entrepreneurs are more socially conscious today than ever before, which is a great trend. Unfortunately, some are so focused on this principle that they forget that every business, even non-profits, have to practice the basic principals of capitalism (build a business model to make money) to cover their costs to do good things another day.

Examples of profitable companies practicing this model include Trader Joe’s, led by Doug Rauch as retired president, now CEO of Conscious Capitalism®, and the Container Store, led by Kip Tindell. Both of these are purpose-driven businesses that boast high growth, high loyalty, and very low employee turnover. You can find a dozen more on the Conscious Capitalism web site.

Of course a profitable model isn’t required if you intend to rely totally on donations, or have deep pockets to fund your socially conscious efforts yourself. Conscious capitalism is the rational alternative approach, dedicated to advancing humanity, while using tried and proven business principles. The idea has four pillars guiding and underlying every business:

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 tremendous organizational energy.
Stakeholder orientation. Recognizing the interdependent nature of life and the human foundations and business, a business needs to create value with and for its various stakeholders (customers, employees, vendors, investors, communities, etc.). Like the life forms in an ecosystem, healthy stakeholders lead to a healthy business system.

Conscious leadership.
Conscious leaders understand and embrace the higher purpose of business and focus on creating value for and harmonizing the human interests of the business stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate a conscious culture.

Read more: Startup Professionals

 

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