undercurrentIt is so refreshing to see how an undercurrent of the integral view of an enterprise is seeping through management culture today.  Successful businesses such as Whole Foods, Patagonia, Starbucks, UPS, REI, the Tata Group have as their core principle that shared human values build a company which has the long-lasting loyalty of employees, customers and even people who don’t frequently engage with the brand. The change is a management style called Conscious Capitalism.  Conscious capitalism is laid out by John McKay, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, and Raj Sisodia in their book Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, which has just been released.

Conscious capitalism evolves from the businesses’ founding principles of a higher purpose, such as providing healthy foods (Whole Foods), promoting fair labor practices and safe working conditions (Patagonia), improving communities’ quality of life (Tata Group), or increasing sustainable operations (REI).  Along with a higher purpose, the management of the companies emphasizes trust, transparency, integrity, personal growth and love and care of employees.  These leaders of these companies believe that the all parts of the company are a complex and continuously evolving system whose stakeholders are inside and outside the company, human and abstract.  In other words, the stakeholders are more than investors, employees and consumers.

Conscious capitalism of a business comes from the conscious leadership within the organization.  When leaders implement change, they need to know that change affects the world within the organization, the product of the organization, the stakeholders in the organization, the society at large and, increasingly, the natural environment.  In order for the changes to work, the all components still need to be in harmony with each other.  For instance, a change in a product should still retain the balance among the goals of the higher purpose, a commitment to social welfare and the trust of the employees in the mission of the company.

According to the authors, Mackey and Sisodia, firms practicing cultural capitalism “exist in the real world by the dozens today but soon to be by the hundreds and thousands.”