Elevating humanity through business

8 Ways NOT to Grow Your Company

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An irreverent guide from Corey Blake, publisher of CC Press

In this fast-paced, digital environment, buzzwords and marketing “trends” to make you more money seem to be taking the business world by storm with promises for things like “growth” and “opportunity.”

But why should we work so hard for something with such an unknown outcome? How about we forget what it is we need to do and get back to the status quo, shall we?

Want to remain in the land of status quo? Here are some tips that are sure to keep you firmly planted in the “safe” zone for as long as possible:

1. The Strategy of Hope. When you use hope as a strategy, it’s like gambling. And who doesn’t LOVE gambling? The hope-as-a-strategy approach also means no accountability when the strategy fails; which gives you the right to yell at everybody. #winning

2. Purpose Loophole. Make “making money” your purpose. Boom. Done. Then, tell people you’re a purpose-driven business and keep those hippies off your back.

3. Play More Games. We all know #winning is awesome. It’s also defined by making sure someone near you is NOT winning. Creating more losers around you betters your odds of being top dog.

4. Dumb it Down. We all know that ping pong tables and free coffee aren’t enough to keep employees happy. But who has the right to complain when they’ve got a paddle in one hand and a sweet mocha java in the other? As long as their guilt overrides their lack of joy, you’ll still be winning (see #3 above).

Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG

5. Go Medieval. Why do you think moats and castles on hills were the preferred location of Kings? Because isolation equals safety. When you prefer to be outstanding—and all alone—you (literally) set yourself apart from competitors.

6. Slay the Beastliest Beast. Every day, go out there and look for the biggest, most successful company you can find, covertly lure them into a distracting, unrelenting frenzy of social media chaos, and take their business down. The bigger the takedown, the greater your digital legacy.

7. Be the Mean Boyfriend. We’ve all heard this cliché. But clichés become clichés because they speak the truth. Employees like to be treated badly. And heck, if you break them down spiritually, where else are they going to go?

8. Are You Ringling Bros. or Barnum and Bailey? Who cares. The point is, it’s your circus, and those are your performers. It doesn’t matter how many of them would follow you into the unknown and which might jump ship; and you shouldn’t bother finding out. This consciousness stuff sounds adorable, but how about you DON’T poke the bear in the eye, k?

If you’ve gotten this far and are feeling like you’d rather take the high road in developing your strengths as a Conscious Leader, click here to download our authentic and heartfelt guide: 4 Keys to Jump-Start Your Growth as a Conscious Capitalist.

Claim your role in using business as a force for good—to elevate all of humanity. Download this free three-page guide to start your journey. In it, you’ll learn:

  • The key commitments you need to make when embarking on your Conscious Capitalist Journey
  • The four tenets of Conscious Capitalism that serve as guideposts for anybody on this journey
  • The importance of finding good leaders to learn from, spreading the word, and walking the talk

Get 4 Keys to Jump-Start Growth as a Conscious Capitalist


Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Adds Lynne Twist and Ron Shaich to Board of Directors

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Conscious Capitalism, Inc., the nonprofit corporation dedicated to elevating humanity through business, announced today the addition of two new board of directors, Lynne Twist (Co-Founder of Pachamama Alliance, Founder of the Soul of Money Institute and author of award-winning book, “The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life”) and Ron Shaich (Founder and Former Chairman & CEO of Panera Bread and now Managing Partner of Act III Holdings).

Lynne Twist is a global visionary recognized for her commitment to alleviating poverty, ending world hunger and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability. Lynne has global hands-on experience leading the philanthropy of some of the most successful business leaders.  Her work with the Soul of Money Institute has impacted over 100,000 people in 50 countries. Lynne’s expertise on fundraising with integrity, conscious philanthropy, strategic visioning and creating a healthy relationship with money aligns with Conscious Capitalism, Inc.’s increased initiatives in learning and development, which is a key part of the organization’s growth plans.


"I am honored to join the board of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. I have long admired John Mackey and Raj Sisodia for the leadership they are providing for companies all over the world. There are many people who challenge the very system of capitalism and there may be some validity to that, but given that that is the system we are living in, it is my intention and commitment to support business leaders in doing their work at the highest levels of consciousness, responsibility and integrity. I think the work of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. is vital at this pivotal time in history and it is my privilege to serve the Conscious Capitalism movement in every way that I can. Thank you.” 

- Lynne Twist


Ron Shaich is committed to long-term value and demonstrated this and the principles of Conscious Capitalism through Panera Bread, the best performing restaurant stock of the past 20 years, generating annualized returns of over 25% and delivering total shareholder returns of 44 times better than the S&P 500 from July 18, 1997 to July 18, 2017 all while building on values of clean, nutrient-rich and enjoyable food, caring for stakeholders and giving back to the community. Ron is now embarking on a journey to invest in public and private restaurants that are driving long-term value creation as Managing Partner of Act III Holdings. Ron’s involvement in the Conscious Capitalism movement and expertise in leading conscious business growth lends itself well to Conscious Capitalism, Inc.’s strategic goal of building community with like-minded business leaders.


"I was a Conscious Capitalist before I ever heard the term. This is my tribe, and more than that, it is a cause that I believe in. I'm excited to join the board of Conscious Capitalism to deepen my support for this important movement."

- Ron Shaich


Lynne Twist and Ron Schaich are speakers at the upcoming 2019 Conscious Capitalism Annual Conference taking place April 23-25 in Phoenix, AZ. Learn more about Lynne Twist and Ron Shaich.


"I am honored that Lynne and Ron are providing their guidance, reputations, and time to build the Conscious Capitalism movement. As with Conscious Capitalism more broadly, these two have distinguished and diverse careers, coming from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Their expertise and commitment to this cause will be invaluable in our work to elevate humanity through business."

 - Alexander McCobin, Conscious Capitalism, Inc. CEO


The addition of Lynne Twist and Ron Shaich to the Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Board of Directors will enhance Conscious Capitalism, Inc.’s reach in the global community and help to reinforce the learning and development capabilities of the organization as it seeks to support business leaders’ practice of Conscious Capitalism.

Why Origin Stories Matter: Capturing Your Story in a Book

CC Press
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By Round Table Companies

Families share stories of adventure, obstacles, and heroism, passing down these tales along with photos, mementoes and often-repeated tales that become part of who we are. Some families pass along narratives about how great-grandparents made their way to a new nation or state. They’re origin stories and every tribe has one, including yours.

When you capture your business story and share it with others, two things happen. First, you invite people to understand who you are, not just what you know or your expertise. Second, you inspire them to conspire in your favor and help you manifest a new future that doesn’t currently exist. Simply put, you light up those who are your people while repelling those who would otherwise waste your precious resources.

Writing a company story is not about boosting your own ego. It is about establishing a profound trust with your audience by inviting them into the multi-dimensional journey of your company’s ups and downs.

Intimacy is a Dirty Word in Business

And yet, we know that people make decisions based first on emotion and then on logic that supports that emotion. Emotion becomes available when you authentically invite readers in. The gritty struggles that make your business the one it is today are paramount. Few people can relate emotionally to a linear story of sequential successes. That isn’t authentic to our experience of life.  Just try and get emotional when reading a resume!

Instead, it is in our falling that we see ourselves in each other. Share the times you fell and then how you rose again. People will literally curl up in bed with your book if you allow them to see your business for who and what and why it is.

Corey Blake, founder of Round Table Companies, points out that readers will snuggle under the covers with a story and hope for a profound enough experience that they wake up the next morning feeling changed. If your story resonates with them, you’ve created a fan for life. These are the people who become your future partners, investors, or new talent.

A Lasting Legacy

Your story is a building block, a reference for future stories. Let your failures and successes inspire others to fail better and faster on their own way to impacting the world.

As a company, you want to articulate the core essence of your purpose in a way that demonstrates the contribution you are making to the world. Imagine the impact your story could have on current and future readers. What lessons could you teach? What innovations could you instigate?

Your business story matters. Write that book. Share that journey. Change the world.

If you’re interested in writing your book and publishing it through Conscious Capitalism Press, you’ll find more information here.

2019: The Year of YOUR Story

CC Press
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By Round Table Companies

It’s nearly midnight on a Friday, and there you are: sitting on the living room couch, a cup of hot tea in your hand, and your dog (or cat) snuggled up beside you. You need the dog/cat, the tea and any other comfort you can get. You are, finally, about to read through the first full draft of your book. Sure, it’s a business book, but it’s a book about YOUR business, and everything about your life is on display there. Reading a badly written paragraph, you’ll hear the devil cackling at the humiliation you’ll feel when everyone, everywhere, can read your thoughts and do a full-scale inventory assessment of all your life’s decisions.

WHY did you do this? What on earth possessed you to make yourself so vulnerable? It had seemed like a good idea at the time; after all, your business is your pride and joy. When the idea to start your business had first crossed your mind, you had the sense to grab it and begin considering it when others would have waved it away. You saw the merit and the questions. But instead of giving in to doubt, you kept searching, resolving problems, seeing new possibilities. People shook their heads, and some days you feared they were right, but you kept on breathing more life into it every day (and so many countless nights) until it began to pulse with its own energy, attract the interest of others. Your business grew in ways you’d never expected, until here it is, today, a thriving business that supports not only your family, but many others, too. A business that was once a concept now makes a difference for its investors, employees and customers. Of course you wanted to tell this story!

So, just as you set out on the task of building the company, you set out on the adventure of writing about it. You committed yourself to sharing an honest, authentic tale that engages others on every level. You found a brilliant team who could act as your champions, help you find the essential moments of your journey, and bring them to life. For a year you’ve been exploring with them, watching your ideas, thoughts, the beauty of your life bloom into language. You’ve added layers to your understanding with every conversation. This understanding becomes part of you, adds a dimension to your relationships and the way you think about your business. In turn, it has opened up new avenues of communication and possibility.

As you share your new way of seeing with others, those of like minds are inspired by your humanity and your energy (because this self-inquiry always brings a new burst of energy), and they are drawn closer.

This is the truest benefit of sharing your story: meeting new minds, finding new links between people and sometimes between unlikely people. In writing the book, you’ve brought your deepest humanity to the forefront, and sharing that has had a magnetic effect. You’ve heard authors talk about this benefit often, and they’ve likened it to that glorious feeling of breaking the surface of water after a deep, joyful dive.

You recall that before you dove you stood at the end of the board, vacillating. Your business was growing, yes, but hardly at the Fortune 500 level. Was it hubris to imagine anyone would be interested? Surely a book would reveal you as an ordinary schlub, and your company, your gorgeous invention, as a mediocre idea. You’ve got plenty of problems already, so why take on another? Maybe next year, you told yourself. You reasoned that you’d be older and wiser by then.

And still, you’re a person who takes the leap. You dove into business, you dove into writing the book. A step, a jump, a flight over and into a new element. So here you are, with the manuscript on your lap, the tea, the dog/cat, the cozy couch, and the courage to face whatever it is you are in the process of making.

You’ll have grown through the writing process, considering your values, understanding them in all of their aspects, capturing them in vivid language so others could take them in. After all this work, you’ll be a far better representative for the company now that you’ve wrestled your unique mission into words.

Even better, you will be filled with grateful pride, knowing that you recognized the worth of your story, looked back over the path that brought you here, and, in so doing, clarified the path ahead. You’ll have taken it seriously, having made this investment in yourself and your company’s future. You told the world that you and your mission matter by your actions, and you proved it, page by page.

Make 2019 the year you engage on the deepest level with your central ideas and beliefs, the year you attract allies and supporters through the clarity of your vision; make this the year you write your story.

Every one of us wants to touch the lives of others. When we fully share our stories, we offer more of ourselves and welcome more from others; we open a door to understanding, learning and collaboration. It’s nothing less than the first step to making a real difference in the world.

If you’re interested in writing your book and publishing it through Conscious Capitalism Press, you can find more information here.

In it for the Long Haul: An Anti-Revolving Door Approach to Leadership

Conscious Leadership
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4 lessons from a decade as CEO and how to apply them to your own company

By Rob Waldron, CEO at Curriculum Associates

In the current business landscape, the chief executive seat is often held by leaders with short-term outlooks who move from one company to the next. According to a recent Equilar study, the median tenure for CEOs at large-cap (S&P 500) companies was just 5 years at the end of 2017.

This year marks a milestone in my career—10 years as CEO of Boston-area education technology company Curriculum Associates. When I started during the financial crash of 2008 (a likely indicator of a short tenure if there ever was one!), the company’s chairman presented me with a contract with 20-year terms. I thought he was insane. Today at the halfway mark, I realize how wrong I was, as this long-term commitment is our company’s strongest competitive advantage.

I’ve identified a few lessons to help other leaders rethink the urge to play musical chairs and instead focus on making meaningful impact by digging in for the long haul. If you’re starting out in a new leadership role or thinking about making a move, here’s some perspective from a 10-year (and counting) veteran:

1. Hire (and keep) good people

One of the most important things I’ve learned from leading with a long-term lens is that hiring one stellar recruit is far more exciting—and valuable—than landing a massive order. I’ve seen time and time again that our people are our most valuable asset and key to sustainable success. This lesson was hammered home for me when chatting with a district superintendent (with whom we have a multi-million-dollar contract) who told me plainly, “I love your company, but if [my account manager] Mike leaves, I’m going with him.” Our people and the trusted relationships they nurture are what set us apart, and I’ll choose a Mike over a million dollars every time.

I believe in hiring people, not filling positions, so I spend more than 50 percent of my time as CEO recruiting and hiring talented individuals that are not only the best fit for the role, but also the best fit for our values and culture. As a result, we‘ve had remarkably low turnover (less than 8 percent), and the average length of stay for employees is over 13 years.

2. Listen… and do what they say

I believe great CEOs are those who listen best, encourage employees to advocate for what’s needed, and then (most importantly) don’t screw it up.

I learned early in my career that in any organization, the people who know the most are those actually doing the work. In my first leadership role at Kaplan Educational Centers, I was thrown into their worst performing center. Quite frankly, I was scared, and I asked the office coordinator what I should do. Long story short, Gloria knew best, and I can only take credit for having the wisdom to listen to her. Implementing her practical ideas led our turnaround, and within months we saw a 50 percent increase in sales.

At Curriculum Associates, I take listening one step further, inviting every employee to participate anonymously in my annual review. I’ll be honest, sometimes their feedback is hard to hear, but I report the results to the entire company nonetheless. I also require that the board tie a portion of my bonus to employee satisfaction scores. This process has helped me become a better leader, and employees know their input is heard.

3. Go in with a long-term outlook

A decade ago, I joined a sleepy print publishing company that was deeply impacted by the market crash. A CEO looking to spend a quick couple of years pumping profits would have been well advised to run for the hills.

I found that during these tough times, it mattered most to our employees and customers that I was in it for the long run. The assurance that “I’m staying through this” at a time when other companies were shedding employees and anxiety levels were high set the tone for a stable, future-focused workplace. Our team doubled-down on long-term strategy, developing new solutions from scratch and bringing the company into the digital age without taking on debt. As a result, we grew during the downturn while competitors grasped at short-sighted solutions. Since that time, we’ve seen exponential growth, today serving more than 7 million K-12 students across the country

4. Take a conscious approach

My first job after college was at Morgan Stanley in New York City. After work, I’d lose the suit and volunteer at a local homeless shelter. It was in this environment, working with folks committed to societal change during the height of the crack epidemic, that I understood the power of purpose. Organizations driven by values and not solely by their bottom line will always work harder, making them difficult to compete against. When your customers and employees see this commitment, they will stay with you.

One of the main things that drew me to Curriculum Associates was the fact that a focus on giving had been baked into their corporate structure from the start. The great honor of my career came last year, when I managed the gift of majority ownership of our company and proceeds of approximately $200 million to charity. Historic philanthropy at this scale is not realistic for most businesses, and I’ve learned that prioritizing good corporate citizenship does not simply mean writing big checks. Service at our company takes many forms, from our voluntary decision to raise the company’s minimum wage to $15/hour to pairing every customer with a dedicated support team. Working with leaders across sectors through organizations like Conscious Capitalism, I’ve seen how a purpose-first approach shapes culture and can be a company’s greatest competitive advantage.

As with any long-term adventure, these 10 years as CEO at Curriculum Associates have been trying at times… but thrilling and fulfilling more times than I can count. It’s been the best decade of my career so far, and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.


Rob Waldron is a speaker at our upcoming Conscious Capitalism Annual Conference taking place April 23-25 in Phoenix, AZ. Visit conference.consciouscapitalism.org to learn more and register.

Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Announces New Board Co-Chairs Dedicated to Elevating Humanity Through Business

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Conscious Capitalism, Inc., the nonprofit corporation dedicated to elevating humanity through business, announced today the election of Kip Tindell and Raj Sisodia as Board of Directors co-chairmen. Tindell and Sisodia will seek to introduce the philosophy of Conscious Capitalism to more business leaders around the world while garnering new levels of engagement with the Conscious Capitalism organization.

The Conscious Capitalist Credo expresses what connects these pioneering business leaders in a global network. They believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to even more.

Conscious Capitalism, Inc. convenes and hosts these like-mind business leaders at world-class conferences that build the community; designs and offers learning and development experiences to support the growth of the business leaders; and serves as an advocate for the Conscious Capitalists and their successful business practices in order to change the perception of business in media and society to shape our culture.

Kip Tindell is Co-Founder and Chairman of The Container Store, the nation’s leading retailer of storage and organization products — a concept they originated in 1978. Today, the company has stores across the country with over 11,000 storage and organization solutions designed to save space and time. Tindell is the author of UNCONTAINABLE: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives, highlighting the retailer’s unique approach to business and culture, which guides decisions impacting The Container Store’s entire interdependent set of stakeholders, starting with employees and including customers, vendors, the community and shareholders. Tindell’s commitment to their employees landed The Container Store on Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” year after year for nearly two decades, including number one twice. Tindell is a former Chairman of the National Retail Federation and currently sits on its executive committee. In 2015, he was elected to the World Retail Hall of Fame, which honors founders of some of the retail world’s most iconic brands.

Raj Sisodia is the FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. He is a co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and has written numerous bestselling books. Sisodia is the co-author (with John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market) of “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.” He co-authored (with Barry-Wehmiller CEO, Bob Chapman) “Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family, which was named Best Leadership and Management book of 2015 by 800-CEO-READ and one of 15 best books of 2015 by Forbes. His book “Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose” is considered a foundational work in explaining the precepts and performance implications of pursuing a conscious approach to business. His most recent book, published earlier this year, is “The Conscious Capitalism Field Guide: Tools for Transforming Your Organization” (co-authored with Timothy Henry and Thomas Eckschmidt).

“As Conscious Capitalism continues to prove itself as the model business philosophy for both today and the future, we are honored and grateful to Kip and Raj for their commitment to not only continue their leadership but take on this greater role in growing Conscious Capitalism,” said Alexander McCobin, chief executive officer of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. “Our global movement believes the opportunity to liberate the heroic spirit of business and entrepreneurship is more important today than ever, and the experience Kip and Raj bring to the movement will help to get us there.”

To learn more about the movement dedicated to changing the practice and perception of business so that it is recognized as a powerful force for good, visit ConsciousCapitalism.org.

 

About Conscious Capitalism

Conscious Capitalism, Inc. is the 501c3 nonprofit corporation 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. Founded in 2010, Conscious Capitalism, Inc. has offices in San Francisco, New York City and Detroit. The international organization serves a global movement of Conscious Capitalists by producing transformational events and learning opportunities to inspire, educate and connect a growing community of leaders around the world interested in advancing the practice and perception of business as a force for good.