Elevating humanity through business

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What You Can’t Be is a Hypocrite

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By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

A border wall. Abortion. Entitlement reform. Russian interference in the most recent presidential election. Gun control.

Pick a topic and it’s likely that Americans are deeply divided on the issue—polarized and separated by their interpretation of the facts, or even holding alternate sets of facts. Politics have become so toxic it sometimes seems as though Americans are living in two separate countries.

But there’s at least one place where people are setting aside their differences and uniting in harmony behind a common banner—Conscious Capitalism.

The Conscious Capitalism movement is a big tent that unites both ardent conservatives and committed liberals. It’s a place where people who voted for President Donald Trump can work with people who loved President Barack Obama.

It’s not so much that they ignore their differences as much as that they understand their common cause and respect those who are on the same journey.

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Sisodia Meets with BlackRock’s Larry Fink, Finds Conscious Capitalism in Action

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By Geoff Campbell and Alexandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

Conscious Capitalism Inc. cofounder and chairman emeritus Raj Sisodia had just given a presentation at the Lead with Love Leadership Summit in Aspen, Colorado, when a woman approached him.

“You and Larry Fink need to meet,” she said before setting the meeting in motion.

Then just days before the meeting, Fink, cofounder and CEO of the BlackRock investment firm, sent a letter to the chief executives of the largest public companies, telling them they should focus on value creation for all stakeholders—that they needed to have a larger purpose than making profits—and that they must engage with the community and make a positive contribution to society.

And he included a warning: if a business doesn’t act in a way that promotes societal good, “it will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders.”

“As you read the letter, you see he was using our language,” said Sisodia,the FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He said he couldn’t help but be impressed by Fink and by the BlackRock firm.

First, despite Fink’s clout, Sisodia said that during the course of his 35-minute meeting, it was clear that Fink is a grounded, Conscious Leader, and “just a regular guy.” Second, Fink has been living Conscious Capitalism principles within his firm.

“He’s creating a different kind of financial firm,” Sisodia said. “It has a culture that is people-centered, and he speaks of emotional connection. People stay there instead of moving on to other jobs, which is the norm in this kind of high-pressure environment.”

Sisodia said he was able to talk to Fink about the Conscious Capitalism movement and even invited him to an upcoming CCI meeting. While Fink said he’s already committed at that time, he wants to send other top executives.

BlackRock’s influence in the financial community is hard to overstate.

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Fierce Compassion: The Role of Spiritual Intelligence in Conscious Capitalism

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By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

The Exxon supervisor called, and he was heated.

“I was responsible for filling secretarial positions in the building, and when I picked up my phone, he started yelling at me,” Cindy Wigglesworth recalled. “Some little moment of grace inside me said, ‘Insert a pause here.’”

Her stomach wrenched with anxiety, Wigglesworth asked the supervisor if she could put him on hold to get rid of another call—a fiction designed to allow her a pause for a few deep breaths.

“I set a higher intention—I was going to shut up, listen, and be hyper present. I wasn’t going to defend,” Wigglesworth recalled. “And that little moment of grace, that inner wisdom—I wasn’t expecting it.”

When she returned to the line 20 seconds later, she dove into active listening by taking notes and repeating back what he said. By the time the call was over, he had completely calmed down and felt Cindy was an ally to solving his problem.

Wigglesworth said it was “a seed moment,” a foreshadowing of a deeper insight she’d later develop after her 20 years with Exxon, as part of something she called spiritual intelligence, or SQ.

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Two Feet in Front of Your Face: The Headlight Approach to Conscious Leadership

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By Geoff Campbell of Round Table Companies

 

To journey without being changed is to be a nomad.

To change without journeys is to be a chameleon.

To journey and to be transformed by the journey is to be a pilgrim.

—Mark Nepo

 

“People often ask me, ‘What’s the key to Conscious Capitalism?’” says Timothy Henry. “I always tell them there are three important factors—leadership and leadership and leadership.”

Every year, hundreds of business leaders are inspired by the ideas of Conscious Capitalism but don’t know how to bring it to life in their own organizations. On the journey to doing better business, what moves us from inspiration to a specific aspiration that sticks?

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Stop Freaking Out About Holacracy: Here’s why it works

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By Geoff Campbell and Aleksandra Corwin of Round Table Companies

“Chief executive officers represent a single point of failure,” says Brian Robertson, a self-described “recovering CEO.”

Gary Hamel famously said that if you ‘give someone monarchlike authority… sooner or later there will be a royal screwup,’” he shares.

Robertson is founder of HolacracyOne, whose Holacracy framework decentralizes leadership to bring more consciousness to business. “The most effective way to achieve conscious leadership is to get everyone in the whole system thinking like a CEO.”

At first blush, Holacracy often freaks people out because it lends itself to two common misconceptions. First, many assume it means no structure, and second, they assume that all decisions are made by consensus.

“People either worry it requires everyone to lead everything, or that no one leads anything, but the key is to get everyone taking full leadership of the particular area that is their purview,” Robertson said. “It doesn’t mean everyone manages everything,” he said. “That doesn’t scale and it doesn’t work.”

Robertson once heard a Starbucks executive note that the person responsible for cleaning the floors should be able to choose his or her mop—which is exactly what Holacracy promotes.

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Decompartmentalizing Culture: How to Stop Thinking Like a Small Pie

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By Geoff Campbell of Round Table Companies

A Note from the Editor: We hear a lot of talk about a winning stakeholder model, while we are also aware that in practice, executing this tenet of Conscious Capitalism requires intention and action. After you’ve read the article, let us know your recent insights into exploring your own stakeholder map.

 

Do you want your piece of the pie or do you want to grow the pie?

All businesspeople should know themselves well enough to answer this fundamental question about what is more important to them. Growing the pie is a familiar concept to anyone who has studied economics and capitalism. Through stakeholder mapping, Conscious Capitalism International and its partners, like the Stagen Leadership Academy, are teaching business owners around the world how to expand the pie—because a larger pie simply feeds more people.

Many experienced CEOs who run huge organizations still don’t “get” the idea. What is a stakeholder exactly? Most people are familiar with shareholders, those who own stock in a company. But stakeholders are a wider array of anyone vested in the long-term success of a business. “Growing the pie” only happens when businesses value all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

 

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Public Company / Conscious Capitalist

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By Geoff Campbell of Round Table Companies

PAR Technology Corp. needed a disruption in 2009. They were facing challenging times as new competitors entered the market, and all while the company was going through a leadership transition.

Karen Sammon had worked for years at the company her father founded, when she made the painful realization that what was best for the company at the time was that she leave PAR to gain outside experience. Current leadership encouraged her transition, which, while well-intentioned, in some ways made it more painful.

It was a difficult decision; she didn’t want to leave.

“Eventually I understood that leaving was the right thing for me, too,” she said.

Understanding didn’t make the reality any easier to accept. Sammon, currently chief of staff and strategy for PAR Technology Corp. and incoming Conscious Capitalism Inc. (CCI) board member, described this period as a time of searching and seeking.

“I admit I was a bit entitled,” Sammon said softly. “I thought I had the answers.”

She found a coach and set out to own what was hers and to embrace what she couldn’t control. It was the inflection point that sent her on the road toward Conscious Leadership and Conscious Capitalism. But Sammon’s Conscious Capitalism journey has been anything but linear.

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Facebook Forward: Conscious Capitalists Weigh In on the Social Network Giant

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By Katina Z. Jones of Round Table Companies

A Note from the Editor: This article is the first in a series of topical commentary pieces where opinions are curated from the Conscious Capitalism community.

Data breaches involving millions of people’s personal information.

Suicides being broadcast live.

Social injustice, captured and shared immediately around the world—bringing immediate outcry and support for the aggrieved.

Hate messages from a terrorist group.

Fake news designed to influence opinions—and possibly votes.

On Facebook, the drama unfolds every second and quickly multiplies—sometimes beyond our human capacity to comprehend its speed.

The social media giant has spearheaded connecting people around the world, but it also raises questions around the boundaries and responsibilities of free speech. A recent Fortune Data Sheet examined “Why Facebook Should Be Liable for What It Publishes,” and the piece raises some interesting questions: How much should be shared? How can we trust what we are reading or sharing? And, most important, who is ultimately responsible for the integrity of content?

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The Gift of a Clear-Eyed Truth Teller

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By Geoff Campbell of Round Table Companies

A Note from the Editor: This article is a challenge to our CEO community. How engaged are you in your own transformation as part of your journey to running a conscious company? After you’ve read the article, please let us know what gets in the way of your own commitment to personal development.  

“I’ll never forget this CEO who approached me with a story about his marital difficulties,” explained Rand Stagen, founder of the Stagen Leadership Academy. “He said he knew he needed outside help but couldn’t figure out why the help wasn’t working. He told me, ‘I went to my network and found the best counselor money could buy. Then I sent my wife to the counselor.’”

Stagen, a member of Conscious Capitalism International’s Board of Directors, who has taken over 1,000 CEOs through the intensive leadership development program he has run for the last two decades, said the anecdote provides a glimpse into the minds of many leaders of huge organizations. Why aren’t there more CEOs of public companies talking about Conscious Capitalist principles? According to Stagen, Fortune 500 CEOs get to where they are by being masters of outsourcing and delegation—but those tactics don’t work when it comes to fixing a marriage or adopting Conscious Leadership to transform an organization. A big part of the Conscious Leadership ethos he teaches is a commitment to playing the long game. “If you can’t commit to the long game, you can’t be in the movement,” he said. “You can’t buy this, you have to earn it.”

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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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