cc_coloradochapter-logoI had fun this morning giving a presentation to the local 1 Million Cups chapter about Conscious Capitalism.  There was some great discussion about all these companies out there trying to make the world a better place.

One of the problems this has, though, is terminology.  I started calling it Values Based Businesses on my blog four years ago.  You’ll also hear about “mission driven” and “purpose driven” companies, and “values based” investing.  cc-bookBut one of the most powerful and enduring terms is “Conscious”, which stems from the Conscious Capitalism book by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia.

But no matter what you call it, this is about a different way of thinking about business.

You see, we’ve fallen into this trap – for hundreds of years – of thinking that business success is purely measured in money.  The purpose of delivering value to customers is to make money.  The reason for having employees is to make money.  Market leadership is to make money.

And since there’s only so much money to go around, that means taking money away from others.  Your competitors.  Even your employees.  And we call that “profit.”

I love the work I’ve been doing with clients about the new model, though.  Money is not a limited resource; it’s just a convenient means for people to pass value from one place to another.

If you think about it, money really only has value when it’s being traded.  Otherwise it just sits there, doing nothing.  When I trade cash for a product, that’s an exchange of value.  Even when I put money in a bank, it’s still being used for something – giving loans to other people.  You don’t think there’s a big pile of cash sitting in your bank’s vault, right?

So the real object of business is to create value.  For customers, for employees, for investors, for partners, for the community.

And that’s what this whole “conscious” movement is about.

It really makes for a much healthier company.  And, by the way, more profitable too.  Because people give you money when you give them value in return.