Contributed to EO by Kent Gregoire.
Kent recently became the seventh certified Conscious Capitalism consultant globally. He helps organizations execute on their desire to do business for good by working with leaders to uncover hidden potential that benefits all stakeholders. EO asked Kent how entrepreneurs can embrace the tenets of Conscious Capitalism. Here’s what he shared:
Today, the richest one percent owns 44 percent of the world’s wealth, while 36 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty. Inequality is growing for more than 70 percent of the global population, exacerbating the risks of divisions and hampering economic and social development.
In this context, I believe that we have reached a clear outcome of the original version of capitalism, and it’s time for an evolution. I also believe that Conscious Capitalism offers an alternative that can align business with people, profit and the planet.
We are, indeed, in a moment in time when technology, opportunity and understanding converge toward a more caring way of conducting business at scale. The new wave of consumers is making different choices. Similarly, the new wave of entrepreneurs and executives is leading their companies with passion, purpose and conviction.
Conscious companies like Interface, Southwest Airlines, Patagonia and others are not an anomaly. Over time, I have witnessed what happens when leaders and teams discover their own greater purpose, and infuse that into their work.
However, one cannot mistake the PR veneer some companies are using in lieu of the profound and holistic change needed to build conscious businesses. To this end, the conscious capitalism movement provides a framework that includes four interconnected disciplines. Companies must be committed to each of these principles in order to be successful on this journey:
1. Higher purpose
While profits are essential to build a sustainable business, conscious capitalism focuses on purpose beyond the profit. When you operate with a higher purpose, your business purpose goes beyond making money. The purpose establishes a deeper meaning which, in turn, inspires and engages employees, customers and other stakeholders.