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Friday, July 3, 2020

Executive Insider

It’s Time We All Become Conscious Capitalists

What if I told you there was a way your business could be ten times more profitable? Would I have your full attention? What if I told you that you could have this money, feel more fulfilled at your job, and have a team of happier employees? Now I know I have your full attention.

This isn’t some sell-your-soul business strategy or a false promise of a business-like utopia that is just another pipedream. What I’m saying is possible, and it’s already a reality for a lot of companies. All you have to do is be good and do good.

Sounds a lot like corporate social responsibility, right? Except traditional CSR initiatives can be tacked onto existing business models. What I’m talking about takes corporate social responsibility to a new level and demands an entirely new business model, one that is guided by passion, purpose, and conviction. In this model, business owners think beyond themselves and their wallets. Instead, they are focused on nurturing a value-based company, maximizing their impact, and manifesting greater citizen awareness and participation.

Enter the conscious capitalist.

I know what you’re thinking, conscious capitalism sounds like quite the oxymoron. Whatever your beliefs are about capitalism, its negative stigma is undeniable. The system has gotten so powerful that it’s arguably become more valuable than our own health and happiness — and oftentimes feels more important than humanity in general.

In 2018, 42 people held the same amount of money as 3.7 billion of the world’s poorest citizens. 175 million people face unemployment this year, a number that continues to skyrocket in just the United States alone due to COVID-19. Around 63 percent of Americans don’t even have enough in their savings to pay for emergency costs like a major car repair or a one-night stay in the ER. Sadly, I could go on, but you get the point.

We are currently at a fork in the road. Do we course-correct our current path or do we continue to choose the unsustainable way of life? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to continue watching our world try to survive under our current state of capitalism. It’s time we take action and choose purpose over our own profits.

Here is what business can look like under conscious capitalism. 

Make profits secondary to purpose and you’ll be more profitable

Sounds too good to be true, I know. Too many entrepreneurs believe that success is only possible when they come into an industry swinging. This isn’t entirely their fault, as so many articles put cut-throat entrepreneurs on a pedestal. They frame survival as an impossible realization unless you’re willing to play a little dirty. But this isn’t the way to create a lasting legacy.

Quite the opposite, actually. Even as far back as 2013, countless data has proven that conscious capitalists perform ten times better than their competitors, even when those competitors were giant corporations. The world doesn’t want ruthless, unforgiving leadership. They want authentic visionaries whose primary focus is making the world a better place, whether that’s through their products, services, or their charitable efforts.

This is what will give you a competitive advantage. Giving back — whatever that looks like at your company — is more meaningful than your profit margins. When you focus on your community, you are creating a loyal customer base that isn’t a byproduct of initiatives like aggressive marketing campaigns. Instead, it comes naturally.

Consumers want to engage with companies that prioritize their social, economic, or environmental impact. 66 percent of people are even willing to pay more if they’re buying from a company that supports an important cause. Writer and marketing consultant Kelly Diels’ describes this as “tiny acts of doing-it-differently”.

When you’re focused on others, profits will be a byproduct of your purposeful mission.

Creating a conscious culture

When you infuse passion and purpose into your daily work, incredible things happen, not only for you, but your entire organization.

Instead of being an entrepreneur who is tirelessly working towards a profit, you become a leader who works because you find fulfillment in your job. The same goes for your employees. When employees feel that they’re working under your thumb every day to turn a profit for your organization with no greater purpose, you’re actually suffocating your company’s culture.

And we already know what happens when your culture suffers — it brings your employees and your bottom line down with it. In his book Alive at Work, the Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, Daniel M. Cable says that “when people work under these conditions, they become cautious, anxious, and wary. Over time, they begin to believe that their current state is unchangeable, and they disengage from work.”

As a business owner, this should be a scenario that you dread.

If you think this has somehow surpassed your company, you’re either not paying attention or it’s only a matter of time. The quit rate is the highest today than it’s been in 15 years, all because a higher number of employees feel increasingly disengaged at work. Your team wants to feel like they are working towards something bigger than themselves. If they find that in your socially conscious company, they will be more loyal and become more creative in order to continue adding value to your company’s mission.

One study showed that turnover rate was lowered by 57 percent when employees felt more connected to a company’s charitable efforts. When it costs around $15,000 for every employee you have to replace, this is critical.

True sustainability is contingent on conscious capitalism and the impact of these companies is long-lasting. Not only do their products or services fulfill a need in a market, but their efforts will always be needed in a world that is uplifted by the good of others.


Written by Lauren Irwin-Szostak. Here’s what you’ve missed?
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Lauren Irwin-Szostak
Lauren Irwin-Szostak is the President & CEO of Business Processes Redefined, LLC (BPR, LLC), a leading firm in the call center, customer service, and receivables management industries. Lauren Irwin-Szostak is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.