Raj Sisodia 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.
Explain what you describe as the male and female modes of running a business.
Capitalism had a mother and a father, and they were both embodied in the same person. For Adam Smith, the father energy was about self-interest and the freedom to pursue it. This notion leads many people to believe that humanity is driven by self-interest. Wealth of Nations is often quoted to justify this mode of business behavior. We forget about Smith’s other book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which focused on the human need to care.
That is the mother of capitalism. So, I’m presuming that the profit-only model lost touch of that maternal energy. Today we find ourselves very much dominated by the patriarchy mode—and the planet is in peril.
What’s lost by losing this feminine mode?
We lose touch with the human side of the equation. We become automatons devoid of emotions, functional but one-dimensional beings. A whole second pillar is missing from the building, so to speak. The essential elements we have lost by suppressing this mode are caring and an interesting form of conservation—conserving one another, our humanity, and the planet. Without the pillar of the feminine in business, Capitalism itself is under fire.
The extreme forms of Capitalism that began being practiced in the 19th century gave rise to militarism, divided the world, and caused untold amounts of suffering and wars that continue to this day.
I hear many people looking for alternatives to Capitalism today and that scares me because we don’t understand the whole essence of the model. You lose a lot of innovation if you move to a purely communistic model. Yet, unmitigated capitalism functioning under a masculine single pillar has been destructive. What I consider part of my mission is to make people aware of Conscious Capitalism as a viable alternative to healing the planet.
It’s only black and white thinking that says we can have either Capitalism or Socialism. That’s kind of false polarity, where humans can lose the dynamism of real Capitalism and the inherent decency in the full model.
Capitalism promises and actually delivers a lot of dynamism, creative destruction, innovation, and change. Socialism promises but doesn’t actually deliver on decency. Basically, everybody gets a subsistence level of survival. What we really need is the dynamism and decency an enlightened form of capitalism can provide.
The other issue is governments don’t provide levers of dynamism and decency. This function is better left to an economic system.
What works is when we get away from short-term thinking in business—the focus on only monetary profit. All of the evidence shows that a long-term hold with a purpose-led company gets better results. Case after case supports this point.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Image credit: transferconsultancy.com
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Michael 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.