Conscious Capitalism: Creating Change Towards a New Business Model

Many of you have heard of the Conscious Capitalism movement. It is about 5 years old and is at the heart of a new corporate consciousness. It is a way of thinking about capitalism and the innate potential of business to make a positive impact on the world today. Conscious businesses are focused on creating values-based, purpose-driven organizations that place the interests of all key stakeholders at the center of their business model, not just one or two constituencies. There are four key tenets to Conscious Capitalism as well as a credo that can be signed in support of taking ownership around creating change. The tenets incorporate having a:

  • Higher Purpose
  • Stakeholder Orientation
  • Conscious Leadership
  • Conscious Culture

The question is how do we get there and how can the Whole Brain® methodology support us?

The answer is obviously complex and would be a huge undertaking for any organization (or team) that dedicates themselves to this type of change. What can be offered is a framework and process that was created by Chuck McVinney, a leadership and Whole Brain® Thinking expert (and his colleague Charles Leiserson of MIT). Chuck guides teams in their efforts to begin these types of journeys, using a process aligned with the whole brain® model and walk-around below. Chuck believes that this method begins in the red quadrant starting with Values. These are a company’s core principles that affect all stakeholders – leadership, employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders. Getting clarity around authentic values is the foundation of the entire initiative.


A continuation of his Whole Brain® approach brings people to then:

  • Articulate an exceptional purpose-driven Vision – A world where….
  • Describe the unique Mission of the organization and the work that is done in service and support of the vision & values
  • Establish Goals and milestones that demonstrate progress towards the mission
  • Take this all to the next level by focusing on Deeds and getting to actions with clear, measurable results.

Key Takeaways: The transformation of companies to this new, more conscious business model is a continual process and certainly doesn’t happen overnight. The data is in, though, and a study of the original corporations featured in the book Firms of Endearment show they have outperformed the S&P 500 by 14 times and Good to Great Companies by 6 times over a period of 15 years. The firms highlighted in this book that support the Conscious Capitalism movement are major brands such as Whole Foods, Costco, Disney, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, T. Rowe Price, Novo Nordisk and Tata Group. It is happening all around us! We can also start with our own brand by clearly articulating our personal values and how they align with our work and the organizations we are associated within our lives.

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