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Enlightened Business Summit: Conscious Capitalism

October 29, 2010

This week I had the opportunity to hear from many great speakers during the Enlightened Business Summit.  The premise of the summit is “how to marry enlightened values and the bottom line, as well as how to liberate the full potential of employees, customers, and even investors.”  Since this is a topic I have become passionate about, I was thrilled to participate and am now excited to share these expert’s ideas with you in our multipart series.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, outlined his 4 principles for Conscious Capitalism in this engaging half hour.

1st Principle – Higher Purpose

Most organizations exist to maximize shareholder value but don’t really focus on a higher purpose.  He believes that the same way individuals strive for higher purpose so too should organizations. He provides numerous examples of great organizations that also have a great purpose: Google (furthering human knowledge), South West Airlines (service to others), and Apple (creation of beauty)

2nd Principle – Stakeholder Model

Create a virtuous circle by creating value for all stakeholders not just the shareholders.   Inherent in this idea is moving away from the concept of zero sum, I win, you lose, to the notion that everyone can win.  For example at Whole foods they hire good people who are happy in their work, they support the customers, the customers patronize the store and also market and that in turn increases shareholder value.

3rd Principle – Conscious leaders who serves the enterprise

Conscious leaders serve the enterprise and it’s higher purpose rather than focusing on any personal gain.  They also increase awareness and build relationships with all the stakeholders.

4th Principle – Create Cultures that Support the 3 other principles

This means creating cultures that are focused around the first two principles and where leaders walk the talk.  Some of the key elements include “important ideals of teams, empowerment, transparency, authentic communication, fairness, love and care.”

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