Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting

Can Businesses Do Well By Doing Good? You Bet They Can!

Business has been, and should always be, a powerful force for good in the world generating not just financial wealth but social, emotional, intellectual and cultural wealth as well.  This is the message of Dr. Rajendra Sisodia, Professor of Marketing at Bentley College, John Mackey, Co-Founder and CEO of WholeFoods and other global thought leaders involved in the Conscious Capitalism Institute.

In Dr. Sisodia’s  book, Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit From Passion and Purpose, he shows that firms of endearment (FOE) outperform the S&P 500 in 3, 5 and 10 year time horizons by as much as 9 to 1. Who are some of these firms?

  • WholeFoods
  • eBay
  • Costco
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Southwest
  • Google
  • Johnson & Johnson

Are you a conscious capitalist?

“Conscious capitalists tap into deeper sources of positive energy and create greater value for all stakeholders, including investors. They utilize creative business models that are both transformational and inspirational, and can help solve many of the social and environmental problems faced by the world today”. (From the Conscious Capitalism Institute website)

The Three Operating Principles of Firms of Endearment are:  

Higher Purpose: They have a higher purpose that transcends profit maximization

Stakeholder Orientation: They focus on aligning, harmonizing and delivering value to all stakeholders (no trading one against the other) using the SPICE model of stakeholders: Society, Partners, Investors, Customers, Employees

Conscious leadership: Their leaders serve as stewards to the company’s deeper purpose and it’s stakeholders. They are ‘other focused’ not ‘self focused’

In the 1970’s my Uncle Thomas J. O’Brien , a Jesuit priest, was teaching at Seattle University when he started a program with Fortune 500 leaders called Executive Thinking. He was coaching leaders on conscious capitalism 40+ years ago:

“Instead of believing uncritically that its sole function is to return a profit, business leaders must begin to realize that its purpose is and must be to achieve the common good of the society, profitably.  It is sheer idiocy to think that people go through the risk, the effort, and sometimes the sheer agony of business enterprise out of mere altruism: profit there must be. But profit which results from serving the common good, not from endangering, or even destroying it.”

We are seeing dramatic failure in achieving this goal by some. Yet, we are also seeing an increase in consciousness and connectivity that brings hope and promise.  With it comes great responsibility and now, perhaps more than ever before, leaders around the world have the opportunity to shift the paradigm of capitalism. Now is the time for us to be catalysts for manifesting capitalism’s full and highest potential, for the good of all.

What Can You Do Today?

Conscious capitalism starts with conscious leaders.

  • Meditate: The neuroscience is in. A regular practice of meditation helps the brain focus, create, navigate change/chaos,  act decisively and experience a greater sense of meaning and well-being….in other words, expand your consciousness. 
  • For one day, consciously observe how you interact with technology and social media. Then honestly ask who is in control of your life: You or it? NEWSFLASH: more neuroscience in about the negative impact that constant interruption and multi-tasking have on productivity and creativity.
  • Eat well most of the time and exercise as much as you can.
  • Get enough sleep…always.

What are your thoughts about conscious capitalism and can you share practices that work for you to help you be a concsious, happy and healthy leader?


  1. Thank you for this posting. Corporations are made of people and as an entity, have a lot of power. It’s the people within the organization that can make it a conscious or an unconscious corporation. I’m all for the conscious route, and appreciate your 4 bullet points/suggestions towards this goal.

    A practice I might share is to take time every day to touch base with someone at work with whom you don’t interact with regularly. A simple “How’s your day going, [name]?” “How did you feel about the presentation this morning?” OR “How’s your [child/family/anything you’ve talked about w/ them previously]?” Create links of kindness and communication across functional groups in an organization. From that place we can provide value for our customers.

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