Conscious Capitalism: Conversation with Raj Sisoda, Part One

by Michael Graber

Conscious Capitalism: Conversation with Raj Sisoda, Part One

Raj Sisoda is the Professor of Global Business, Babson College, Co-founder & Co-Chairman, Conscious Capitalism, Inc. Raj has written ten books and over 100 academic articles. He is the co-author (with John Mackey, co-founder, and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market) of Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business (Harvard Business Review Publishing, 2013), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is also co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family (Penguin/Portfolio 2015). His most recent book is Shakti Leadership: Embracing Feminine and Masculine Power in Business (Berrett-Koehler, 2016). 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.

Can you provide a definition of Conscious Capitalism for those unfamiliar with the term?

Capitalism is a way to think about this impact that businesses have on people’s lives that is not just about making money. It’s about making a positive impact, making a difference. So, the traditional story of business is profit maximization for shareholders. This view really does not reflect the reality of any great business, which is motivated by passion that much deeper than the sole financial return. Conscious Capitalism taps into the power, potential, and beauty of the spirit of business to make a multifaceted positive impact on our future on the planet today.

 

You use the word Heroic a lot. What do you mean by this word in the context of business?

When we are trying to do something worth doing that is heroic. Successful businesses are really motivated by that sense of higher purpose, which is about something that really doesn’t exist in the form when they began. It’s an act of creation.

It also calls for heroic behaviors. Overcoming the risks you have to cultivate a courageous patience. You have to show the faith in your actions. You have to sustain the teamwork and the team spirit.

You rarely hear how hard it is for these heroic companies to make it at scale. Rarely, if ever, do you hear stories of how difficult it became to make it through the crucible moments. Truly it is kind of a hero’s journey of an entire culture.

Ultimately we need to celebrate entrepreneurs who build great companies. Every other group in the world aspires to do something, in some fashion—lawyers, doctors, or judges aspire to make a difference.

It is insulting to business and untrue that the sole objective of work and business is mercenary; that’s just not true. It is a self-defeating worldview. Somehow economists and others codified the supposed purpose of work, labor, and business. They made us believe it was just about money. It just not true. There’s so much more.

 

TO BE CONTINUED.

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Michael GraberMichael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

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