Elevating humanity through business

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In Search of a Transformational Architect

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By Corey Blake and Geoff Campbell of Round Table Companies

A Note from the Editor: This article is a challenge to our consultant contingency to question where they fit and don’t fit amidst the whole of the transformational change process. We also put words to what many of the movement’s business owners are feeling as they determine who they can rely on to shepherd them through the evolution to greater consciousness. After you’ve read the article, please consider the invitation at the end to submit your own viewpoints on this topic for possible publication on the Elevations Blog.

Anne Bennet*, the CEO of a major food manufacturing company, was on fire to make her organization more conscious. She hired a consultant named Benjamin Corby* to help her articulate the firm’s path to purpose.

Benjamin excelled at Conscious Leadership coaching. He was a licensed psychotherapist who had spent two decades expanding his own consciousness as he supported leaders in expanding theirs. Benjamin led Anne and her executive team through purpose work that landed on the heartfelt goal of reducing childhood obesity by removing calories from the company’s products. He then supported the team in learning to listen to each other more deeply, and in sharing each of the personal ties they felt to this emerging company purpose. With Benjamin’s support, the team let go of past resentments and wounds that were still showing up in the workplace, clearing the way for the work they would now undertake together.

Then Benjamin did something courageous. He stepped aside.

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Want to Change the World…and Have Fun?

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Serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal says you should start a business

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

“I would never start a non-profit,” Miki Agrawal says. “It would be boring for me, to be honest. There’s no incentive to keep driving and wracking your brain on how you’re going to crack the code.”

In Agrawal’s eyes, as for all Conscious Capitalists, for-profit means for the greater good. Her companies Thinx, Icon, and Tushy help refine hygiene and personal care for users by offering affordable and innovative ways to deal with menstruation, incontinence, and hygiene. Thinx also helps get feminine hygiene products to women in Africa, while Tushy is involved with sanitation initiatives in India.

For Agrawal, creating a conscious business is the best path to changing the world, disrupting norms, and having fun while getting the job done. But making a difference doesn’t always start with a grand vision. For Agrawal, Thinx started with a three-legged race. In 2005, Agrawal and her twin sister were at a family barbecue, winning a race and intent on getting those coveted bragging rights, when Agrawal’s sister got her period. The two of them finished the event and then dashed together to the bathroom to handle the issue.

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Spend Life Wisely

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How First United Bank is transforming lives through its purpose-driven work

By Agata Antonow and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

A man tired of struggling paycheck to paycheck walked into the gleaming glass and wood-accented lobby of a bank in Durant, Oklahoma, and was greeted by a 27-year-old personal banker named Katie Knight. He’d gotten hooked into a vicious cycle of payday loans, and didn’t have enough money to make it through the week. He was here as a last resort.

First United Bank advertised with commercials that asked people to bring their financial challenges into any branch, guaranteeing that they could help troubleshoot even the stickiest of situations. Two weeks after his initial visit, the man was back, but a familiar face in the lobby caught his eye.

“Hey, you,” he yelled across the lobby and strode over to come face to face with Greg Massey, the bank’s CEO. Massey reached out to shake the man’s hand and introduce himself, but was interrupted. “I know who you are. I’ve seen your commercials on TV and I always thought you were full of crap.”

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Dear Business Schools: Profits are Not the Point

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Why academia needs to stop pigeonholing capitalism

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

Capitalism exploits workers. Capitalists are greedy. Capitalists destroy the environment. Or so say capitalism’s critics.

The litany of complaints about capitalism stretches to the horizon, ignoring the fact that capitalism has improved the lives of countless millions and serves as the single-most powerful force for good the world has ever seen.

Why the disconnect? Any business people worth their salt know that the essential ingredient to long-term success is balancing the needs of the entire stakeholder chain. Yet there continues to be a mismatch between the prevailing narrative about business (greedy pigs) and the reality we know to be synonymous with a truly successful business (value-creators for everyone the business touches).

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Responsible Banking

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How KeyBank brings consciousness to its industry

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

Building on a long-standing commitment to responsible banking, KeyBank is a powerful example of how enlightened business practices align with higher profits—the central premise of Conscious Capitalism.

“Profit and consciousness are not polar opposites,” says Beth E. Mooney, chairman and chief executive officer of KeyCorp. She stresses KeyBank’s focus on helping clients and communities thrive —including balancing “mission and margin”—and ensuring all boats in their wake are rising.

“We believe when our customers do well, we do well,” Mooney said. “When our customers do well, our communities do well. This is the true balance of mission and margin.”

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Feature: Why Consciousness Is the Key

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Why Consciousness Is the Key to Unlocking Capitalism’s Greatest Potential

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

More and more, the term “Conscious Capitalism” pops up in business and general media as the future of doing business.

But what is it, and where did the concept come from? And why is it important that businesses adopt a more “conscious” way of operating?

Conscious Capitalism started as a collaboration between academics and business leaders to articulate a better way to do business, and it is grounded in a belief that businesses truly flourish when they are organized around a greater purpose. Conscious Capitalism has now evolved into a global movement aimed at educating and inspiring business leaders to practice capitalism in its truest form.

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Member Profile: Improving

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Improving Trust in the Entire Stakeholder Chain

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

He was working for a leading defense contractor who was having difficulty attracting information technology talent. So, he developed a business model for a proposed subsidiary he thought could solve the problem, while acting as an internal consultancy for the company.

The plan made it all the way to the top levels of the company. But then came the response: tell the software weenies to get back to work.

“They said this about employees critical to their success,” Curtis Hite recalled. He was learning firsthand the danger of ignoring the principles of Conscious Capitalism—and he proved himself an attentive student.

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Member Profile: Emerios

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The End of High-pressure Sales

How one conscious company is helping capitalism evolve

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

When Wells Fargo employees got caught creating millions of fraudulent savings, checking, and credit card accounts for its customers without their consent, capitalism’s critics had a new poster boy.

But Jesse Crowe, founder and CEO of technology firm Emerios, said the scandal was avoidable—even if Wells Fargo’s sales culture had remained the same.

“Had Wells Fargo been using our solution, this never would have happened,” Crowe said.

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Feature: Capitalism vs. Capital Markets

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Don’t Confuse Capitalism with Capital Markets

Why the stock market doesn’t represent the true power of business

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

To many, the stock market is synonymous with the economy and, as a result, with capitalism.

But is it?

Increasingly, those within the Conscious Capitalism orbit say no.

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Member Profile: EPOCH Pi

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EPOCH Pi: Trailblazing a new era of purpose in business

By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

 

Investment banker William W. Vogelgesang said it took him nearly 25 years to learn that only a small percentage of people are motivated by money.

He never thought of business as “evil,” but he’d always believed that pursuit of financial goals to the exclusion of all else “can lead to sub-optimal outcomes.” And for himself, “I was never really motivated by making lots of money.”

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