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Screw business as usual

Paul Cash, chief strategy officer at The Real Paul Cash, urges businesses to practice ‘conscious capitalism’

This is a brand new column and one I’ve been itching to write for over 18 months. The editorial powers at B2B Marketing have given me the freedom to rant about one of the biggest issues of our generation – the fundamental purpose of business.

That’s a biggy right? Feels like the biggest question of all – the purpose of business!!!

At the very core of this concept we are asking business leaders to forget everything they’ve been taught about ‘profit capitalism’ and replace it with a new model based on ‘conscious capitalism.’

It’s like asking pirates to join the navy or bankers to be community workers. It’s disruptive, thought provoking and its consequences far reaching.

It’s taken us 50 years to evolve
You see, for the past 50 years companies have screwed their customers, employees, supply chain partners, the communities in which they operate and the environment in order to turn a profit. Sounds pretty ghastly doesn’t it, but for 90 per cent of the companies this has been business as usual.

The irony is, since the global financial crisis of 2008 companies are waking up to the fact that in order to be around for another 50 years they need to pay special attention to the things they’ve been screwing with all this time.

Time to wake up
Companies are waking up to a new way of doing business that is more purposeful, conscious and compassionate. For the cynics and skeptics out there, of which there are many, this isn’t about making less profit – far from it. It’s about being more successful but playing by a different set of rules.

This is far more than ‘feel good’ corporate social responsibility. This is about boardrooms and leadership teams recognising that ‘business as usual’ just won’t cut it anymore.

It asks leaders to re-engineer modern organisations built on solid values and a shared responsibility to ‘do good’ for their employees, their customers, their communities, their supply chains and the planet at large i.e. profits with purpose.

Pretty toxic stuff in most boardrooms and shareholder meetings I’m sure, but this trend has become a movement and it’s growing at a phenomenal rate.

Research from Harvard Business Review indicates those companies who practice ‘conscious capitalism’ outperform their market financially by a factor of 10.

What are the principals of being a Conscious business?
1: Profit isn’t the only measure of success: The Conscious business doesn’t have a blind obsession with making profits.

2: Conscious businesses need conscious leaders: Leaders do what is right and care about the connected ecosystems that we live in.

3: Be at one: Conscious businesses and conscious customers recognise that all things are connected.

4: Culture is critical: the conscious business lives by its values. It commits to a philosophy of doing business that is executed through the social fabric of its business.

Over the coming months, my aim is to bring you examples of companies who are doing great things and to inspire you to consider how you can become a more conscious business and ultimately a more conscious marketer.

I’ll be looking at brand challenges around developing a true sense of purpose as well as initiatives in employer branding, social responsibility and much more.

I’m only scratching the surface with this article and there is lots more investigating to do.