ccThe term “Conscious” is increasingly being used to describe companies that achieve the best balance between all their core principles. The term first came to popularity with John Mackey’s and Raj Sisodia’s 2013 book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, based on David Schwerin’s 1998 book Conscious Capitalism: Principles for Prosperity.

This has now grown into a global movement, promoting businesses built around four key principles:

  • Higher purpose
  • Stakeholder orientation
  • Conscious leadership
  • Conscious culture

This supports new philosophies of business including the Triple Bottom Line, Benefit Corporations, and Values Based Businesses.

This is about people realizing that there’s more to life and success than just money.  Not that money is evil; it’s the means by which companies are sustainable. But money isn’t the sole measure of success.

Many people rarely talk about the deeper mission behind a business, but it’s vital to sustaining growth and being valued by society. Here are a few pieces of what a mission might be:

  • We want to learn and have fun.
  • We’re here to make our community a better place – customers, employees, and everyone else.
  • We want a workplace where everyone is valued and motivated to do their best.

In a very real way, your mission articulates precisely what makes you different than the millions of other companies in the country. Some might say that it captures the essence of your soul.

It should encompass the value you deliver to the customer, but it rarely stops there.

Now this may all sound very New Agey, idealistic, and impractical. But it’s actually one of the most important, hard-nosed things that a leader needs to do.

Why? Because a business is about people. Employees, partners, customers, the broader market. And people are motivated by engagement in purpose and value.

We’re not robots.

Think about it: when you make a choice to purchase something, there’s a combination of logic and emotion. Your interactions with the people matter just as much as the products, sometimes more.  And you pay attention to whether a company “feels comfortable” for you.

When you’re an employee, the character of your employer matters even more – especially in connection with your manager(s). Your productivity relates not only to your skill in doing the job, but also the degree to which you think your work makes a difference. Indeed, whether the company as a whole is doing something important.

As a leader, you want employees who are motivated and productive. You want to engage customers who will be pleased with what you deliver and become loyal. You want partners who are motivated to do their best to contribute to your success.

The foundation of this is understanding the balance in your business.

And being conscious.

This article was first published in InnovatioNews.