How would you run a business if no one was looking?

by Siobhan Doran - Conscious Capitalism

19 November 2015

How would you run a business if no one was looking?

Just last week I was asked, ‘So how do we do this Conscious Capitalism ‘thing’?’

It’s a fair question from a well-intentioned company, yet there is no magic bullet. Sure, there are four key pillars. It starts with discovering your higher purpose. It flows into conscious leadership. It lands squarely with equal and ethical stakeholder engagement. Finally – and concurrent to all of this – the organisational culture evolves to be based on TACTILE values (Trust, Authenticity, Caring, Transparency, Integrity, Learning and Empowerment).


The invisible thread
But the invisible thread that runs through each of these pillars is the belief that to ‘do this Conscious Capitalism thing’ we need to ironically let go of the money part for now and focus on the human part. Sharp business sense is always a given, so it’s not a case of exchanging this to bring more humanity to your business; it’s a case of aligning the two values every step of the way.

The bottom line will follow in time, once these pillars stack up authentically. Whereas if you are just ticking an ever-growing CSR box, or taking these steps to ultimately generate more sales, then ‘success’ will be short lived. And on that point, what does success mean to your organisation anyway? Is it defined by profits? Growth? Or is it defined by letting go a little (or a lot) of both to grow a more conscious business that supports long-term thinking in a short-term world? Insert plug to an awesome book on this issue, incidentally.


Up close and personal
In this transparent digital age, we are so up close and personal with one another, that any scent of insincerity or an ulterior motive won’t cut it, let alone last longer than the next financial quarter or three.

And this is where it gets so exciting. Like a revenge of the nerds, yet it’s like avenge of the do-gooders in business. The innovators who care, the entrepreneurs who see the common-sense goodness in giving back, the CEO and board who lead from the heart because it’s who they are – and it’s partly why they were chosen for their roles, above the myopic pressure of ‘shareholder value’.


Respect and be respected
There is a universe of online followers and ‘real life’ fans waiting to celebrate and share the good intentions of these organisations; who recognise the real deal when it comes along and who are mutually respected by the companies they support. It’s a deeper relationship that generates so much tangible positivity – through, and far beyond, the bottom line.

There is a perfect storm brewing in our world of game changers, business owners and innovators. In fact, it started long ago. Technology dropped the veil to make way for transparent, ethical, purpose-driven businesses to do what they would do anyway if no one was looking.

It’s just who they are and how they operate – and long may they continue to be a positive global influence on other organisations who are fast-learning that ‘good business’ is just that.


What would you do if no one was looking?
The future looks bright for organisations that care and are genuinely driven by a purpose that is so much more meaningful than solely their bottom line.

Do what you would do if no one was looking, if a higher purpose ruled your heart, and money wasn’t your main motivator – then everyone will start to take notice for all the right reasons.


Siobhan Doran is the Executive Director of Conscious Capitalism Australia, and she is in awe of its incredible members. She also talks very quickly, gets excited by lots of new ideas, and has serious cravings for sea salt and caramel chocolate bars when no one is looking.


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