While the 2012 presidential campaign took an unwarranted and unsustainable toll on capitalism, capitalism remains the backbone of Americanism and is one of the main things that make America great.
A new book by Jeff Klein, It’s Just Good Business: The Emergence of Conscious Capitalism & the Practice of Working for Good, tells readers that it is possible to create businesses and economies that “elevate humanity.”
The book is a short 110 pages. It’s filled with graphics and meaningful quotations. And, it introduces a concept Klein refers to as “conscious capitalism.”
He writes, “In this book we articulate a vision of an emerging transformation in the way we orient to work, business and life, reflected by principles of Conscious Capitalism. Then we share stories of businesses that embody these principles. Finally, we point to pathways you can take to increasingly become a reflection of the vision and a participant in the stores, and to create your own stories.”
Klein provides straight-to-the-point definitions for:
- Conscious awareness – a process for recognizing what is going on inside and out and the effects of decisions and actions
- Capitalism – the socioeconomic system based on several principles including rights, rule of law, voluntary exchange, wealth creation and entrepreneurial initiative
- Business – one form of “human social organization: people getting together for a purpose”
- Ecosystem – “how the home works: all of the components interconnecting to form a coherent network of physical elements and living organisms that is greater than the sum of its parts and reliably self-sustaining.”
The book goes on to describe what conscious capitalism is: a movement, an idea and an approach to conducting business. Klein is a trustee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., a non-profit group “dedicated to advancing all these, through transformative thinking, programs, events, and communities of inquiry.”
When applied to business, conscious capitalism has four guiding principles and practices including:
- Higher purpose – every business has a higher purpose than just making money
- Stakeholder orientation – business needs to create value for its stakeholders
- Conscious leadership – leaders who understand and embrace the higher purpose of business
- Conscious culture – values and principles
Klein’s previous book, Working for Good: Making a Difference Making a Living, went much more in-depth on pretty much the same topics covered in this book.
He wrote in his first book, “Working for Good is a philosophy, a way of conducting business and approaching work that orients us on a path to personal growth, development, and service. Based in the skills and practices of awareness, embodiment, connection, collaboration, and integration.”
He provides a look at his own personal journey in the first book. In the latest book, he includes several case studies of companies such as Whole Foods, Zappos, The Motley Fool and others and how those companies achieved a conscious business plan.
One of the strongest messages of both books is the power of purpose. He tells readers that having meaning and purpose in our lives sets humans apart from other animals. And that, “purpose is an activating, motivating and animating force.”
Purpose gets people up and moving in the morning and keeps people on course when they lose their way. The last part of the It’s Just Good Business book provides a list of ways to work toward conscious capitalism.
Klein suggests that the process is the product, and what people create in their businesses reflects how they conduct themselves in business. He also suggests cultivating and caring for yourself, connecting with others, finding and following your passions, and working with and buying from other companies that are working toward or achieving conscious capitalism.
Both books are worth investing in and taking the time to read. The messages of both are highly needed now in a time when capitalism in any form is being attacked and questioned. Businesses of any size or type can and do create good works by providing invaluable services and products that most Americans cannot and will not live without.