We’re so proud that one of our members, Donna Montgomery, Managing Director of Look Listen Denver, was featured in Fortune Magazine. In the write-up, she mentioned Conscious Capitalism. Check it out. Congrats to you for this recognition, Donna! And thanks for the CC Props! Keep the good news coming, friends.
Re: Our Colorado Chapter Will Merge with CCI and Become the Conscious Capitalism Denver Chapter.
Dear Members of the Colorado Chapter of Conscious Capitalism,
It’s been a while since we’ve shared a communique with you … because as your Interim Board of Directors, we’ve been in the midst of a leadership transition, due to term limits, etc. At the same time, we’ve been carefully studying an exciting offer to fully merge and integrate our Colorado chapter with Conscious Capitalism, Inc. (CCI) – our “International Headquarters” and umbrella organization for all things CC: https://www.consciouscapitalism.org/
Results of Our Study: We’ll Merge with CCI
We, as your Interim Board, have taken the past few months to step back from business as usual to reflect on the pros and cons of full integration with CCI. Based on our extensive research, we have unanimously voted to dissolve our independent, Colorado-based 501(c)3 non-profit and fully integrate with CCI and adopt a new name: The Conscious Capitalism Denver Chapter
We are confident that this internal reorganization will allow us to enhance our program offerings to members, friends and the wider community, both now and in the future – while growing our movement.
Most of the Organizational Changes Will Be Invisible to You
Most of the organizational changes will be “invisible” to you. We will continue to hold regular gatherings in Denver and other cities on the Front Range to share ideas and tools to become more conscious business practitioners. By joining the CCI global community, we can also connect to other CC practitioners around the world to share resources, ideas and opportunities.
You can join the international CC Platform at this link: https://www.consciouscapitalism.org/we-are-a-global-community
There is a lot of “behind the scenes computer work” and other time consuming internal administrative change required for our local chapter to fully integrate with CCI. Since these changes are quite intricate and require careful attention to properly align internal records and multi-media communications, etc., the Interim Board voted to authorize our Interim Treasurer, Teri Maison, to do this work at a very reduced rate to ensure a smooth transition. (Thanks, Teri!!)
Seeking Well-Qualified Board Members Passionate about CC
We are also in the process of recruiting new Board members for the “new” CC Denver Chapter. Meanwhile, Secretary Carl Dierschow and Teri Maison will continue to serve on the interim board until their replacements are identified and trained. Paula Gable and Denny Otsuga are new additions to our Interim Board, and they are also committed to providing leadership continuity as we transition to our new organizational structure as CC Denver Chapter.
We are accepting nominations for well-qualified Board members who are passionate about advancing the mission of CCI: to elevate humanity through business. Self-nominations are welcome. For your review and reference, we have also attached a document clarifying the commitment to become a member of the Board.
We Want Your Input
If you have any suggestions for speakers or would like to sponsor an upcoming event, please let us know so we can discuss your ideas with our soon-to-formed Program Committee. We are excited about good things to come and welcome your input and active participation.
We want to hear from our membership and address any questions or concerns you may have about this organizational restructuring or other CC matters. You can do so by e-mailing email@example.com or contacting any member of our Executive Team: http://www.consciouscapitalismcolorado.org/executive-team
We welcome your feedback and are available to address any questions or recommendations you may have. If there is enough interest, we will hold a Q&A Forum to keep you informed about operational questions and receive your feedback.
Your Interim Board of Directors
Dr. Paula Gable, Interim President
Denichiro (Denny) Otsuga, Ph.D., Interim V.P.
Carl Dierschow, Interim Secretary
Teri Maison, Interim Treasurer
Attachment: CCI Guidelines for Board Membership
As incoming President of the Colorado Chapter of Conscious Capitalism, I’m honored, excited, and, frankly, just a touch overwhelmed from time to time – because there is so much we could do, and only so much time to do it. Thus, it is important to allow our higher purpose to lead us in choosing our priorities. This type of values-based leadership is a personal passion for me.
So, I’m super-excited and confident about the possibilities for our future as the Colorado Chapter of Conscious Capitalism (C4) – and I want to hear your suggestions for speakers, programs, etc. I’d also love to learn how you and your company might become involved in the Conscious Capitalism Movement.
But, before we charge headfirst into the future, I want to acknowledge the incredible work our Founding Leaders have done, and the wisdom and guidance they have given me. (Disclaimer: I offer, in advance, apologies to those not mentioned here who have given so much of themselves to advance the mission of Conscious Capitalism.) We owe them a debt of gratitude for the work they have done to promote CC values: higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious leadership and conscious culture.
After “working in the trenches” for 3+ years, many founders are taking a step back from formal leadership roles to allow new ideas to bubble up. Fortunately, Teri and Carl will continue to serve in their respective roles as Treasurer and Secretary until their successors are named; and Denny Otsuga will serve as our Vice President during this period of Interim Leadership. Our Past-President, Sandy, continues to share generously with us the wealth of institutional knowledge she helped create.
A note to our volunteers
Thanks to the efforts of our founding volunteers, I’m excited to join with you in this new phase of C4 — as we develop plans to widen our circle of values-based leadership in Colorado and beyond. I have faith that our incoming leaders are worthy of the trust and legacy our Founders have given us.
One final note: I believe that more than ever before, our collective future will be set by prevailing values and attitudes. Thus, it is important to be clear and explicit about our values — and to join with others to embody our highest aspirations in our business practices — and in all aspects of our lives.
Again, thanks for your efforts to transform our culture by raising the consciousness of our business leaders and others in our community. Please let me / us know how you’d like to get involved in this exciting movement.
I look forward to meeting with you soon to help make our unfolding plans a reality.
With sincere gratitude and warm regards,
Dr. Paula Gable
President, Colorado Chapter of Conscious Capitalism
Western State Colorado University teams with Conscious Capitalism Colorado Chapter
GUNNISON, Colo. – Western State Colorado University’s School of Business and School of Environment & Sustainability are pleased to announce a collaboration with the Conscious Capitalism Chapter of Colorado.
This collaboration seeks to develop future business leaders at the collegiate level with powerful concepts, industry relationships, and practical insights.
Cooperative efforts include just-released educational content around the core principles of Conscious Capitalism, direct conversations between business leaders and students, and support for Western’s groundbreaking ICELab Incubator and Accelerator.
Conscious Capitalism teaches four tenets of building business: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Culture and Conscious Leadership. This connection to the University is specifically designed to educate and support the future leaders of business, whether as entrepreneurs or leaders redesigning existing companies.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Western in their leading alignment of Business Administration, Environment & Sustainability and the ICELab innovation center! We see the passion for entrepreneurship and future of our business leaders within these very walls or right here and right now,” said Sandy Anderson, the Conscious Capitalism Chapter’s president.
The sponsoring professor in Western’s School of Business, Tom Miller, said, “I teach business and I believe Conscious companies are the best companies. I want my students leaving Western with a well-shaped perspective that enables them to choose business practices that will make the world better. Connecting to Conscious Capitalism has been a great experience for my students as well as for the business school.”
“The School of Environment & Sustainability is dedicated to graduating students that critically evaluate decisions with consideration to equity, economy and the environment, aiming to meet our world's needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs,” said Scott Borden, Ph.D., graduate faculty and coordinator of the Sustainable and Resilient Communities track in the Master in Environmental Management program at Western.
“Our collaboration with Conscious Capitalism will provide students with a well-rounded perspective and additional tools to work towards solutions of the wicked problems they have dedicated their lives to addressing. We look forward to working with our School of Business and Conscious Capitalism to leverage this exciting new collaboration for the benefit of our community,” Borden said.
The Director of ICELab at Western, Delaney Keating, said, “Conscious Capitalism at Western bridges ICELab's efforts to preserve the cultural values of Western Colorado through development of diverse lifestyle businesses building with the future in mind."
About Western State Colorado University: Western State Colorado University delivers a full liberal arts curriculum and career preparation to 2,800 intellectually adventurous students, deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The university’s small size, unique setting and low-cost ensure students receive personalized attention, gain hands-on experience and graduate without taking on excessive debt. For more information, visit go.western.edu or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the School of Business: Western's Business Administration curriculum provides the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career in business and management. The degree program builds a solid business foundation, covering accounting principles, business law, international business, finance, economics, statistics and marketing.
About the School of Environment & Sustainability: Western's Environment & Sustainability program helps students understand and address environmental problems. Pairing small classes with the vast classroom of the southern Rockies, Environment & Sustainability combines interdisciplinary courses in the natural sciences, environmental politics, environmental writing, environmental sociology, environmental economics and environmental ethics.
About the ICELab: ICELab Incubator is a six-month track that nurtures sustainability and success in businesses at all phases of development, from ideation to growth and expansion. The program combines high-quality, low-cost workspace with diverse mentorship and training. ICELab Accelerator is a 12-week rigorous program for companies looking to push the edge, from defining new markets to tackling a scalable model for growth. This program is mentor-driven and pairs early stage businesses with world-class mentors, advisors and investors. The program culminates in a “Trout Tank” demo day to investors from across Colorado and beyond.
About Conscious Capitalism-Colorado Chapter: Conscious Capitalism-Colorado Chapter is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating humanity through business. The practice of Conscious Capitalism includes implementing the tenets of Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Culture and Conscious Leadership. Its purpose is to inspire, educate and assist individuals and businesses to learn, embrace and implement the pillars of Conscious Capitalism in an effort to create companies that thrive financially while elevating the quality of life for all stakeholders. It offers Conscious Conversations, compelling events, network and engagement opportunities and collaboration with both the business and academic community.
Hello Conscious Capitalists,
As promised to those that attended this event on 03-07-18, and for those who did not but want access to the event materials, these materials are now available for you.
The Bob Whipple event on Building Trust was a huge success with over 100 attendees. We have the video (access below) and the power point for your reference. If you would like the power point, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
Your Conscious Capitalism Colorado Board and Steering Committee
Sandy, Carl, Teri, Adam and Ryan
Dear Conscious Capitalists,
We are excited about the momentum that we have for 2018. With our official membership launched, we’ve seen great growth in our group and in attendance to our events. We look forward to providing you valuable programming as you engage on your conscious journey. Spread the word about our movement so that others can join us! We would also like to highlight for you some of the milestones we hit last year in 2017.
- Sum + Substance co-host
- Formed university alliances in Colorado
- Volunteered as judges at DU Conscious Capitalism Business Consulting Competition
- Foundations of Conscious Business via partnership with Thrive Consulting and Conscious Company Media
For 2018, we have Conscious Conversation speaker series every other month, beginning in April, and will restart the Conscious Cocktails gatherings this Spring. We will also share with members the events and happenings with the Conscious Capitalism movement on a national level – coming soon, so keep this on your radar!
If you want to help promote business practices that will benefit society and build a better world, get involved! Chapter members have the opportunity to make a deeper impact by volunteering. So, to expand our reach and provide value to our members, we invite you to engage with us by contributing to our blog as a guest writer, leading a discussion on a topic or experience related to Conscious Capitalism, or volunteering with us. Please contact us at email@example.com about getting involved!
Volunteer Call-To-Action: We want you! We have opportunities for members to expand their experience with this organization by volunteering for programs and projects, serving on the steering committee or serving on our board of directors. If you have skills or interests in taking on a leadership position with the following, please let us know, we want you!
1) Social Media Marketing – manage our MeetUp, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts
2) Ambassador/Relationship Manager – manage our college and university partnerships
3) Fundraising and Sponsorship – support funding efforts and community sponsorships
4) Blog Curator – content manager and sourcing
We look forward to seeing you soon! Your board of directors,
Sandy, Carl, Adam, Teri and Ryan
Hello, everyone -
Thank you to all of you who attended one of our events over the last couple years. We're creating an amazing community of people who believe that businesses with real purpose can make incredible change in the world and we're so thankful for all of you. We also couldn't be more excited to announce that, after obtaining our 501(c)(3) non-profit status at the end of last year, we're launching our membership. We are planning some exciting events this year, and we'd love to keep growing this community! Come join us!
Sandy, Carl, Adam, Terry, Ryan, and Madeline
The Conscious Capitalism CO BoD
At our Fort Collins meetup this week, we had a fantastic discussion about the categories of stakeholders in a business venture.
There are the easy ones: customers, employees, suppliers, investors. But now it gets interesting.
Conscious businesses often have a special focus on the planet or environment. It's more than just throwing money over the wall to fix a problem. Instead, what happens if we treat the environment as a stakeholder in our business? It should have an ACTIVE voice in how we address its needs.
Likewise, we probably want to benefit our community, society, or even humanity in general. Again, if we think of those people as stakeholders, how to we give them an ACTIVE voice in our business?
Someone suggested that thinking about our company CULTURE is different than just the employees. And it is. So let's look at how the company culture benefits from what we're doing in our business.
And let's not forget our management team, our partners, supplier, and ... ourselves as leaders. Because if we ourselves aren't sustainable, the business is going to fall apart. It's not an ego thing, it's just recognizing that we are humans too, and honoring our needs (in balance with all the others) is beneficial to everyone.
What a great discussion!
posted by Carl Dierschow, Small Fish Business Coaching
The Colorado Chapter of Conscious Capitalism has an exciting announcement to share!
We are now officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. This designation is an essential step forward for the foundation of the chapter and its growing presence in the state of Colorado. As a nonprofit, the chapter can offer memberships and receive both donations and sponsorships that are tax deductible for donors and members. Stay tuned to learn more about how to donate and why your contributions matter!
The Colorado chapter is an all-volunteer organization. Together with our members, we drive the mission forward to grow the movement promoting businesses that aspire to integrate the four principles of Conscious Capitalism – Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture.
Become a member today and join our cohort of conscious capitalists!
Click here to join our mailing list and we’ll see you soon at our next event!
Your chapter leaders,
Adam, Carl, Ryan, Sandra and Sandy
The assumption behind this article is that the purpose of the Conscious Capitalism movement is to catalyze a paradigm shift in business such that the four pillars of conscious capitalism become the dominant lens through which the performance of a company and those in it are assessed. The question facing the CC chapters then is how best to leverage our limited time and capacity to affect that paradigm shift.
There seem to be five mutually-reinforcing domains that create what is ‘common knowledge’ in business. The five domains are: Professional Associations, Business Schools, Business Media, Consultants, and Capital. If these five domains began to operate from the CC paradigm, the conditions would be set for the broader paradigm shift in business to occur. These five domains are a possible framework to focus the outreach and organizing efforts of CC Chapters.
1. Professional Associations
Many business leaders are involved in professional associations to connect with fellow business leaders and stay abreast of important trends and industry best practices. These associations include everything from local and state chambers of commerce to local service clubs like Rotary and Kiwanis to large national industry-specific groups like the National Restaurant Association. These groups are often hungry for quality content that their members will find valuable, and Conscious Capitalism is certainly that. If the leaders of these professional associations become knowledgable about, and advocate for the four pillars of conscious capitalism, we greatly expand our capacity. Inviting these leaders to events, and building direct relationships with them will help us create mutually beneficial alliances to expand our influence and advance our mission.
2. Business Schools
Probably the single-greatest influence on the dominant business paradigm is the curriculum thought to MBA students in business school. Currently, some schools are aggressively leading the way in teaching their students the concepts behind the four pillars, but many more confine these ideas in a single course on business ethics, if they are taught at all. Outreach to faculty and students at local business schools (not matter how big or prestigious) is another strategic opportunity for us. Inviting them to events, or enlisting them to co-host events with us will likely pay great dividends as we continue to grow.
3. Business Media
Imagine what would happen if the conscious capitalist viewpoint was consistently featured in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Fast Company, Inc, and Forbes as well as on the airwaves of CNBC, NPR and the countless podcasts on business and entrepreneurship. Local chapters may not be able to affect programming at some of these larger outlets, but they can build relationships with their local business media and business beat journalists and columnists for major local papers. Chapters could even create a speaker corps of local CC business leaders, academics, and consultants to pen op-eds and be available for comment as reporters seek perspective on the business stories of the day. Similarly, business books have a tremendous influence on business leaders. Promoting the books that are resonant with the four pillars (to members, to media, and even on Amazon) and debating (respectfully) those that propagate the old paradigm is another important aspect of the business media domain in which chapters can engage.
Most businesses rely on consultants (at least occasionally) to help guide their decision-making. As such, consultants are another critical domain that shapes the paradigm of business. Active outreach to consultants, large and small, and across industries, is another major opportunity for CC Chapters to move the needle. The goal is not to turn every consultant into a conscious capitalism consultant. However, the more a marketing consultant, a leadership consultant, and a financial consultant can all see the world through the lens of the four pillars, the more their advice will contribute to the broader paradigm shift we seek.
The people and institutions that provide capital to businesses are a critical domain. Networks of venture capitalists, leaders of state and local economic development efforts, executives from banks offering business loans, and analysts for the major capital markets are also very important relationships for chapters to build. Imagine what would happen if a loan application included questions on stakeholder relationships, leadership development, and workplace culture? What if most analysts began incorporating those factors into their stock evaluations? What if economic developers expanded their view to see that not all ‘jobs’ are equal and not all economic ’growth’ contributes to prosperity? If practicing the four pillars would help business leaders access capital, and if ignoring them prevented that access, things would change in a hurry. As we all know, the research on the financial performance and resiliency of CC companies suggests that such a filter for capital investments would be in the best interest of the providers of that capital. We should endeavor to help sources of capital to develop tools to operationalize that understanding.
Like the four pillars, these five domains are mutually reinforcing. As capital increasingly prefers CC investments, the business schools will increasingly teach the four pillars. As greater results are achieved by consultants operating under the CC paradigm, business media will promote thesis stories, causing professional associations to spread the paradigm shift more broadly, generating more opportunities for capital, case studies for business schools, stories for media - and so on.
Ultimately, if these five domains can be brought into alignment with the four pillars, the paradigm shift we seek would become a foregone conclusion. Therefore, increasing this alignment locally and nationally is critical aspect of the mission of the Conscious Capitalism chapters. Indeed, the work we are doing already to host events and educate the business community have begun this critical work, but many chapters are operating without a clear strategy. Distinguishing these five domains can help chapter leaders to focus their efforts on strategic opportunities we can leverage to advance the purpose of the Conscious Capitalism Movement.
Join together with CEOs and their executive teams, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and others who are passionate about Conscious Capitalism. In addition to high-potency keynotes and meaningful opportunities to connect with other participants, the major focus of the event is hands on practicums designed to deepen your practice of Conscious Capitalism. Come prepared to build and strengthen friendships and foster collaborative relationships. Our 8th annual spring event will energize and activate you and your team!
The Alliance Center for Sustainable Colorado is pleased to partner with the Colorado Chapter of Conscious Capitalism in hosting a panel event on October 27, 2015 from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm.
Sustainable Agriculture: From Farm, to Table, to Higher Purpose
October 27, 2015 from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
The Alliance Center for Sustainable Colorado
1536 Wynkoop Street
Denver, Colorado 80202
Colorado already demonstrates leadership in Sustainable Agriculture. It’s time to share the best practices that we can all endorse and adapt -- from food production and distribution, to retail and service – whether we’re attending as consumers or savvy businesses looking to improve our multiple bottom lines.
In this inspiring panel discussion, four Colorado leaders use the Conscious Capitalism lens to share how their organizations implement business practices that elevate the quality of life for all stakeholders. You’ll hear from:
John-Paul Maxfield, Founder and CEO, Waste Farmers
Hunter Lovins, Founder and President, Natural Capitalism Solutions
Seleyn DeYarus, CEO, Americas Best Organics, Inc.
Jeffrey Su, President and CEO, Plains Conservation Center
Blake Angelo, Manager of Food System Development, Office of Economic Development, City and County of Denver.
Find out from successful Colorado leaders:
Specific examples of how their organization’s purpose guides overall business strategy/model
Examples of excellent stakeholder value creation, tough moments for leaders to take the "high road"
Their biggest challenge to become a conscious leader in business and practical suggestions as to how leaders can become more conscious
How they built their organizational culture and the value of that for business, the individuals who work there, and other stakeholders
Join us on October 27th, from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm at The Alliance Center FOR SUSTAINABLE COLORADO to explore your appetite for this topic.
The 9th Annual Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit will take place in Austin Texas on October 6-8, 2015. This exclusive event is for Presidents and CEO’s of companies with at least $5 Million in annual revenues. If you fit that bill, this is the event to meet world renowned thought leaders, trail-blazing CEOs and other leadership luminaries. The event is designed to support pioneering CEOs in their journey as conscious leaders.
Registration link: http://www.consciouscapitalism.org/engage/event/4582
Who: CEOs and Presidents
When: October 6-8, 2015
Where: Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, Austin, TX
Cost: $3990. Includes event registration, accommodations and meals.
The Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit is designed for pioneering CEOs who conduct their business in a different way from the norm. They focus foremost on fulfilling the deeper purpose of their organizations and creating value for all of their stakeholders - including customers, employees, communities and natural ecosystems (not just their shareholders). And they cultivate cultures that support people to learn, grow, develop and flourish.
The 2015 Summit is designed to support them on their ongoing journey and, in the annual CEO Summit tradition, promises to be a rich and deep experience.
We invite you to join 200+ other CEOs committed to continually becoming more conscious in their role as leader and to bringing the principles of Conscious Capitalism to life in their companies.
Conscious Capitalism Colorado is very pleased to announce a very special event with Martin Bjergegaard on the morning of June 11, 2015. Tickets are available here.
Who is Martin?
Martin Bjergegaard is one of Europe’s top entrepreneurs. Martin and his team have launched 20 start-ups so far, exited 5 of them, closed 5, and are presently running a portfolio of 10 companies across their offices in London, Copenhagen, and Berlin. They have approximately 200 team members and yearly revenues of $40m. Martin will speak at an event for Denver's startups, entrepreneurs, and the rest of the business community.
What is he going to talk about?
We have always been told, “success requires sacrifice”. Martin never felt comfortable with that mindset, and neither did Canadian entrepreneur and writer, Jordan Milne. In 2010, they started searching the globe for a new kind of role model: those who had found a way to build wildly successful companies, while simultaneously living happy and balanced lives. The results of that search have been published in a book that is already a best seller in more than 30 countries and has been named the UK’s management book of the year: Winning Without Losing. The book will be available at the event, and is also on Amazon here.
Martin will share some of what he has learned both from his experience as an entrepreneur, and from his interviews with role modles from around the world.
Do I get to meet him?
Martin will give a brief presentation, engage the audience in a discussion, and sign copies of his book. So yes, you get to meet him (he's pretty cool).
Where is this thing going to be?
The Commons on Champa is Denver’s brand new hub for entrepreneurship in Downtown Denver. Check it out. Parking is available on the street or in the Denver Performing Arts Center garage.
If you'd like to become a sponsor, or if you'd like to talk about bulk ticket sales, please get in touch: nathan (dot) havey (at) gmail (dot) com.
May 21st from 6:30 - 8:30 PM
at the Brown Palace Hotel, Denver
We are in the process of forming a new chapter of Conscious Capitalism in Colorado and we want YOU to help us create a new business-as-usual in the Centennial State.
Our May 21st meeting is open to anyone who believes that business can be a force for good and who simply isn’t satisfied with the status quo.
This "Organizer Meeting" will include an introduction to Conscious Capitalism and an overview of our Chapter’s purpose. Then, for those who want to help organize, we will end by getting down to work. We are incredibly excited to see you there and have some FUN getting this movement going in Colorado!
Conscious Capitalism is based on four core tenants:
- Higher Purpose: Businesses should have a purpose beyond making profit.
- Stakeholder Orientation: Businesses should create value for all of their stakeholders, not just their shareholders,
- Conscious Leadership: Business leaders must deliberately open up their blind spots and never stop growing.
- Conscious Culture: Workplace culture should be based on inspiration, love and common effort, not coercion and fear.
Research suggests that companies organized around those four tenants actually achieve and sustain far greater returns than their profit-focused competitors. This is a framework for a new and more broadly prosperous business-as-usual that leads to successful businesses, greater fulfillment, and a better world for us all.
If you'd like to learn more OR be a part of the team developing this idea in Colorado, then this meeting is for you. Come and see what's happening, then plug in if you like what you see.
Please confirm your attendence for the May 21st event either on our MeetUp page or by sending an RSVP email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a downright gloomy week in Chicago. Rain and mist hung in the air. Puddles accumulated on the sidewalks. The tops of buildings were hidden by a thick bank of clouds.
Inside the JW Marriott however, a gathering of incredible people from across the United States and around the world provided the warmth and energy that was missing outside. The four tenants of Conscious Capitalism provide a roadmap to reclaiming the ethical foundation of capitalism, awakening business people to the higher purpose business must serve and thereby facilitating the next great leap for humanity.
The Conscious Capitalism conference draws an incredible group of visionary business leaders, managers, and consultants who know that a better way of doing business is on the rise. They come to learn from thought leaders, to raise the bar for themselves, and to put their experiences to use when they return home. This year, the conference focus seemed to be on conscious leadership.
Tony Schwartz was the first keynote presentation. His work at The Energy Project is essential learning for operating effectively as a human, and is well worth the time to explore and practice.
Tony emphasized that stress is not a bad thing until it loses its balance with recovery. It is the balance between the two and the dominance of neither that must be our goal. Performance is a function not of the number of hours worked, but of the energy in those hours.
In our society, adequate recovery is usually lacking. 95% of human beings require at least seven hours of sleep to be fully rested. 2.5% need more, and a mere 2.5% of humans are fully rested on less than 7 hours’ sleep. Americans sleep an average of 6.5 hours per night. But top performers get an average of 8.5 hours. Tony emphasized the importance of taking frequent breaks during the workday and even making naps a regular habit for peak performance.
For most of his presentation, Tony focused on a new framework he is developing. He said that being able to see more and exclude less is what it means to raise consciousness. He invited the audience to consider that the strengths we own with pride as an essential part of leadership are not virtues. In fact, unless they are balanced by their opposite, these strengths can become weaknesses.
He presented a side by side list of strengths with their balancing opposites and asked the crowd to take a look deep within to see what there was to learn about our own leadership in this concept.
He took several questions including one from someone who understands and sees the importance of his work, but finds that in times of stress and upset it is very difficult to live it. Tony said he could relate and told stories about when it happens to him. He said that when we feel threatened, we devolve and stop caring about how anyone else feels. He had two specific pieces of advice:
#1 – When you get upset, you were triggered by something, and the golden rule of triggers is: Whatever you feel like doing, don’t.
#2 – You have a viewpoint about what is true, but it is important to ask yourself what else might also be true. Take a moment and look for what you might be missing.
That advice requires a well-developed self-awareness and a healthy dose of humility. Of the latter, Tony reminded us that “humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking more of others.”
Simon Sineck was next to take the stage to share his new study of leadership. He observed that leadership in most companies is very misunderstood. In most companies, people are promoted because they are skilled at a particular job. But in their new position they micromanage and drive people crazy because they still think they are responsible for the work and not the workers.
Simon argues that junior staff ought to be responsible for the work, while leaders are responsible for the people. Yet no one really teaches leaders how to do that, and it requires a completely different perspective.
Simon asserted that a team’s performance is determined by the environment it is working in. Therefore it is the leader’s job to establish an environment for performance. He said that such an environment must have trust and cooperation. He joked that trust and cooperation are not instructions. You cannot order people to do either. They are feelings and they arise genuinely or not at all.
Simon emphasized that creating safety is the key to a strong performance environment. When people feel safe they collaborate. When they don’t feel safe, they look after their own self-interest. So a leader must make a team feel safe, but most carrot-and-stick, fear-based management “best practices” do just the opposite.
Among the more powerful comments he made was the reminder that leadership is a choice, not a rank and that the cost of leadership is self-interest. He said that leaders must be able to communicate a vision so that others can see it too. That’s why “more” doesn’t work as a vision. He said that a good vision and purpose act as a finish line people want to reach.
As usual, Simon’s presentation was replete with poignant examples and was constructed on a solid foundation of brain science and evolutionary narrative. His book Leaders Eat Last has more.
Bob Chapman is the CEO of Barry Wehmiller, a $2 Billion company with more than $8,500 employees that has achieved a 16.9% compound growth in share price since 1998. But that is not why he was invited to speak at Conscious Capitalism. He may also have gone further that any other CEO in embodying the conscious leadership Simon described.
He opened his presentation with an interesting finding from Gallup; the number one determinant of happiness is a good job – meaningful work among people we care about. Then he added some disquieting facts about work in America. Three out of four people are disengaged, seven out of eight believe their company doesn’t care about them, and three out of five are physically depleted, emotionally drained, mentally distracted and lacking in meaning and purpose. In other words, our workplaces are killing us. Stressed, unhappy people are heading home at the end of each day.
Under Bob’s leadership Barry Wehmiller proves that business leaders can address this crisis. He’s caught the attention and earned the admiration of Harvard’s Amy Cuddy, Simon Sineck and Conscious Capitalism’s Raj Sisodia who is co-authoring a book with Bob called Everybody Matters. Bob has developed ten principles for people-centric culture.
1. Begin every day with a focus on the lives you
2. Leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you.
3. Embrace leadership practices that send people home safe, healthy and fulfilled.
4. Align all actions to an inspiring vision of a better future.
5. Trust is the foundation of all relationships…act accordingly.
6. Look for the goodness in people and recognize and celebrate daily.
7. Ask no more or less of anyone than you would of your own child.
8. Lead with a clear sense of grounded optimism.
9. Recognize and flex to the uniqueness of everyone
10. Always measure success by the way you touch the lives of people.
He talked about the importance of listening. They teach listening so well at their corporate university that people from outside of the company frequently try to get in. 90% of the feedback they receive about the program is about how much it has affected the family life of the attendees.
In one story, Bob recounted the experience of one middle-aged man who worked as a machinist in one of his facilities in the Midwest. The man would get off of work and go home, usually in a foul mood. He would open the door and toss his hat inside. If it stayed in, he was allowed to enter. If it came back out, it meant that his wife was not willing to deal with him, and he would proceed down the road to the bar for the evening. The hat usually came back out.
Bob met this man after Barry Wehmiller had acquired the company and established its signature culture there. Bob asked how things were going and the man said “My wife is talking to me”. When Bob said he didn’t understand, the man told Bob about his hat, and then explained that he no longer needed to throw it in the door when he come home. He was happy. He learned how to listen, and his marriage transformed.
In another story, one of the employees at the different facility was found to be padding his expense reports, essentially stealing from the company. Even at very people-centric companies, that would mean immediate termination – but not at Barry Wehmiller. The employee was summoned into a meeting and was told that he’d been found out. But rather than showing hi the door, they asked him what was going on. He confessed that he was in the middle of an ugly divorce, that his accounts had been frozen and that his only means of feeding himself was the company card. From this understanding, his managers established a plan that would allow the employee to meet his basic needs and eventually pay back the money he had stolen.
Unlike most other conferences I’ve attended, Conscious Capitalism isn’t about presenting interesting information. It demonstrates an alternate narrative for understanding the role of business in society. It represents a paradigm shift that is taking place in capitalism.
Each night as I left the JW Marriott I found myself gazing up at the towers that surrounded me. The streets were quiet and the buildings dark – but in a few hours it would all roar back to life. So many people come to work here every day, and their actions have such far-reaching impact on the lives of countless others inside their companies and beyond, not to mention their families and ultimately, themselves. What do they think when arrive in the morning? For what purpose do they come?
I suspect we could all do well to keep that question top of mind. Capitalism has been the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known. It has also inflicted serious harm. Even so, through it we can address many of our most pressing challenges in a matter of years, not decades. All that is required is that we see the false idle of profit maximization for what it is, and find our true purpose beyond it. This is the promise of Conscious Capitalism, this is why I will continue to attend these conferences, and this is why I encourage you to do the same.