How to Build a Conscious Company
“For conscious companies, growth is different by definition. We don’t grow only for profit; we grow for purpose. We scale not only for a greater bottom line, but also for greater impact.” Says Lori Hanau, founder of Global Round Table Leadership. Many of the companies that I’ve written about and many others in Boulder strive to be conscious companies. They strive to put purpose before profit and to build products or offer services that make a positive impact on society. However, it’s not just an organic foods or a renewable energy company that can be conscious. Any company, no matter the product or service, can be a conscious company simply by shifting priorities and focusing on well-being over wealth.
Boulder-based magazine Conscious Company, since its launch last year, has been sharing stories of companies that have built conscious business models. The magazine has some guidelines and recommendations for companies of all types to live up to the conscious ideals. First, companies should “go for personal-development breakthroughs.” This means that company leaders need to ensure that employees understand the overarching purpose and mission of their work. Next, companies should “encourage individuals to own their agency.” This is particularly important in the early stages of building a company. In order to get employees or investors to believe in your company or your idea, you have to get them to believe in your mission and your vision first. By empowering employees to take ownership of projects and have autonomy over their work, they are more likely to buy in and to commit their energy toward your cause. Also, companies need to “bring shared leadership into action.” Leadership practices are best developed in flat organizations and by avoiding a hierarchical leadership structures, employees will continue to work hard because they believe that they are building something worthwhile.
Another important tactic is to “utilize collaborative decision-making” by ensuring accountability for results and galvanizing teams around central projects. A less obvious tactic discussed by Hanau is to “choose a renegade board of directors.” Though boards are usually chosen based on their industry connection and experience, building a team of people who understand how to distribute profits to the community will go a long way in making a difference. This decision leads to the next recommendation to “bake your values into everything you do.” This means ensuring that the company’s mission and vision guides each and every single decision that is made on a day-to-day basis. Finally, companies that want to be conscious companies must “dream big for future scale and impact.” Being a conscious company means building something that will make the world a better place, now and in the future.
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