Conscious Capitalism Chicago: Blog

We write monthly pieces about our adventures, tours, gatherings, discussions and more.

  • October 10, 2018 12:59 PM | Rachel Duch (Administrator)

    Come to find out, quite a bit.

    Personally, it makes sense that when we receive and give care to another human being we feel more energized, connected, and loved in return.  

    Yet, that’s not so obvious in the workplace - at least not to most.

    Recent studies, however, show that those who perceive greater affection and caring from their co-workers perform better.

    Professors of Management, Sigal Barsade and Olivia O’Neill have conducted a number of studies on this idea of creating a culture of “companionate love.”  

    Companionate love includes shared experiences of affection, concern and compassion amongst co-workers.  Asking about an ill parent.  Offering a kind word during a hectic project. Listening to concerns vs. gossiping.

    Their early results, within a non-profit, long-term healthcare facility, revealed that in this caring culture employees showed up to work more often and reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork.  

    Further, the companionate love culture directly influenced patient mood and outcomes, their felt sense of quality of life, and resulted in fewer trips to the ER.

    Ok, you think, it’s already a “caring culture,” so why the surprise?

    Thought you’d ask.

    These two professors then extended their research going on to survey 3,201 employees across seven industry groups from financial services to real estate on the idea of creating a culture of companionate love.

    And, guess what? Love’s got a lot to do with it!

    Love Culture

    Seems that people, across business industries and within cultures where the freedom to express affection, tenderness and care for one another­ is valued, end up expressing greater satisfaction with their work.

    Additionally, they hold solid commitments to their organizations, and show increased accountability for their overall performance. Solid business outcomes!

    What’s not to love?!

    Organizations leading the way in creating cultures of companionate love include the likes of Subaru, Starbucks, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Whole Foods.

    In fact, Whole Foods was founded on the question, “Can you build a company on love and care, instead of fear and stress?”  

    Care, compassion, and, yes, even love feature prominently in Whole Foods’ day-to-day work. Even when making hiring and promotion decisions they ask, what’s this candidate’s capacity for love and care?

    The rest of us?  

    • ·        Expand your definition of workplace “culture” to include not only cognitive thinking skills (e.g. analysis & decision-making), but also emotional skills and ways of interacting with one another (e.g. kindness, listening, and empathy). What’s the best way to start? Pick one; act on it.
    • ·        Pay attention to the influence of your own emotional expressions at work, as they’ll inevitably impact the general mood and culture of everyone. Own them.
    • ·        Register for Conscious Capitalism 101: Building Conscious Business from the Inside Out coming up on November 2, 2018. 
    • This overview course highlights the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism: 1) Conscious Leadership, 2) Stakeholder Orientation, 3) Purpose, and, you guessed it, 4) Conscious Culture with its focus on caring for all employees, customers, suppliers, everybody in organizations. You might call it love.

    Companionate love or business as usual?  What action will you take?


  • February 23, 2018 2:42 PM | Rachel Duch (Administrator)

    Often, we spend our workday on the go.  Moving from meeting to meeting, eating lunch at our desks, working on deadlines.  This puts us on overload and overdrive.

    What if you took the time to slow down and created some space for yourself before walking into a meeting?  What if you gave yourself time to think and set your intentions for the outcomes you desired to accomplish?

    Practicing mindfulness – even five minutes a day – is enough to make a difference.  You can actually change your brain.

    Last fall, we hosted Raj Sisodia author, scholar, thought leader and co-founder of Conscious Capitalism, a series of events.  At the beginning of his lecture Raj helped bring the room to presence with this short Presence Practice.

    Here is a recording of the practice that you can use before stepping into a meeting, at the start of your day or with your team before you begin a meeting together.

    Let us know what results you see in the comments below.

    For some further wisdom from Raj, listen to our latest episode of the Curious Conscious Capitalist.  Raj speaks about How Business Can Heal Our Bodies, Minds, Souls, and Planet.

  • April 22, 2017 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    Stable Brands Stumbling. Where’s the good?

    by Nina O'Neil | Apr 22, 2017 | CultureUncategorized 

    In the last month we’ve heard about big brands like Pepsi, United Airlines and Fox News and their epic failures to connect to their stakeholders, serve their customers and create a safe culture for employees to thrive.

    In case you missed it, Pepsi caught flack for a commercial, featuring Kendall Jenner, that tried to capitalize on the protest movement of this new political climate we are living in, in a very manipulative way. Not only did the ad NOT tug at our heartstrings and have people rushing out to buy a Pepsi, it missed the mark so badly that there was immediate consumer backlash and the ad was pulled rather quickly.

    United Airlines had its worst week ever when, in a bad customer service move, security was called to remove a customer who refused to give up his seat when the flight was overbooked and they needed to make room for a flight crew. The scene of the man being brutally dragged off the plane and humiliated in the process was filmed by other passengers and played over and over again in the news media, in what must have been a very slow news week. To make matters worse, the CEO of United Airlines issued an initial statement that left an impression that he was blaming the victim for the situation and not taking any responsibility for the actions of the United Airlines staff or the authorities who removed the man.

    And in other news, Fox News fired Bill O’Reilly over longstanding sexual harassment allegations and settlements of over $13 million dollars to women who were either current or former employees of Fox News. Make no mistake, this wasn’t conscious capitalism at work; this was a financial move, as it wasn’t until advertisers started pulling ad revenue from the O’Reilly Factor, fearing backlash from their consumers. Fox realized that O’Reilly was becoming a liability, and they took action.

    That’s enough to make even the most optimistic person feel disheartened about the state of business and the future of our society.

    But for every Fox News, United and Pepsi we have seen wonderful responses from other companies working hard at transformation.

    In April, Dove released a case study of how they hacked Shutterstock’s search results to portray women that reflect society with their IMAGE_HACK campaign. The New York Police Department is working alongside the New York Housing Authority to improve customer relations. The New York Time’s article, Customer Service in Blue, highlights,  “As New York City’s police department, the largest in the country, undergoes a transformation in how it serves and relates to the communities where faith in law enforcement has eroded, it is a good moment to ask just how happy the customers are.” And the American Association of Universities released their Campus Activities Report: Combating Sexual Assault and Misconduct. They, along with 60 institutions are working to make American campuses safer for every student. The report offer examples of campus activity now underway to better inform universities about sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus, and to affect change.

    It’s a shame initiatives like these aren’t viral pieces consumed en masse and applauded. But if we look for it, remain aware of it, we can find inspiration in private enterprise, government and within our strongest institutions.

  • March 28, 2017 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    PurposeUncategorized | 1 comment

    We live in a time where many people are asking the question “What’s my purpose?” That question can come at any given time… when we reach midlife or when we experience a life change (divorce, death of a loved one, job loss, health scare).

    To explore this very topic, Conscious Capitalism Chicago hosted Tim Kelley, acclaimed speaker and author of True Purpose: 12 Strategies for Discovering the Difference You Are Meant to Make.

    People have the view that purpose is something that we do outside of work. Some of this may come from economics… we “work toward retirement”. Our end goal is to avoid work and maximize leisure, so we end up living into this future that assumes meaning lies outside or beyond what we do for a living.  

    The context that we live in suggests that people go to work not expecting to find meaningful value but expecting to find economic value by trading time for money. Current movements, like Conscious Capitalism, are trying to break down this belief that somehow purpose and work cannot go together.

    Why is Purpose So Important?

    About one third of people are purpose-driven. Purpose-driven people are more likely to stay with a company if they find meaning in their work. And if they find meaning in their work, they are more productive and create better relationships with their co-workers. Their co-workers are fellow travelers on a mission to change the world. This is why purpose-driven companies seek out purpose-driven employees.

    Purpose-driven leaders are usually more inspiring. Leaders who are only managing – just moving around parts or who are only focused on the bottom-line of profit – typically do not engage our hearts.  

    Purpose is also a good guide in a confusing world. Classic business strategy that is based on predicting the future and planning moves ahead like chess is not as effective in this current market.  It’s difficult in this market to be able to predict and plan for the future. A company with a larger purpose has a rudder to deal with the uncertainty, because the purpose will help guide their decision-making and bring them back on course when the waters get rough.

    Companies that are authentically “on purpose” and who share that purpose with their employees and customers tend to have a loyal fan base and the relationship becomes one of a shared movement, rather than a transactional exchange of goods and services. There is also plenty of data to support that purpose driven companies are profitable and sustainable over time. A company does not trade profit for purpose, in these business models, profit becomes a natural outcome of a purpose driven company.

    So How Do I Find Me Some Purpose?

    You can start by asking questions like:

    1. Who am I?
    2. What am I passionate about? What lights me up?
    3. What am I meant to do?
    4. What is the greatest positive impact I could have on the world?

    During our session with Tim, he led us through an exploration of purpose at work and in life, and he went further to facilitate an exercise to help us connect to our own purpose. Tim’s book True Purpose, is a helpful guidepost for the journey. This excerpt of the book serves as a practical resource to get you started.

    Here’s a parting thought on purpose: when you become clear about your purpose, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need blow up your current life or find a new job.  We can bring who we are and our purpose into our own current workplace or life situation and create greater fulfillment right where we are.

    What’s your purpose?

    1 Comment

    1. Katie Simmons on April 18, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Thank you for this reminder on seeking purpose-driven work. I have found it particularly powerful to retaining my clients. They can see my passion and that builds a relationship of trust and loyalty lasting many years.


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