4 Min ReadBusiness 03 September 2020
When I started my business in 2014, I found myself wrestling with how to incorporate my philanthropic mindset with my business goals. In the traditional capitalist model, we're conditioned to produce something—whether it's a product, a service, or a platform—from concrete thoughts and actions. Once we've met quarterly and annual revenue goals, any extra time or money that we happen to have leftover can be donated to an organization for a gold star of participation. This typical model, which leaves philanthropy as an afterthought, has never been enough for me. In my personal life, I have always thought about treating people with kindness, respect, and empathy or about lending a hand when and where I can, so why are these values being overlooked in the business world? Or, even worse, why are they considered a weakness?
This push and pull—between personal philanthropy and professional progress—continued for a few years until I started to find other like-minded entrepreneurs and business leaders. These people, and consequently, the organizations that they run, believe that a business' role is to add value to our communities and contribute to them in any way we can; they live and breathe their values and this mission from micro to macro levels. Employees are supported and treated with respect and kindness, and philanthropic efforts go way beyond just a monetary donation as theese companies create intentional structure for change, such as a non-profit arm or a commitment to allowing employees paid time off to volunteer.
Their purpose as a leader isn't just to move a team towards a collective goal but to consider all individuals impacted along the way. They must show this same consideration for those within the team as they do for those outside the organization.
I've always considered myself a high achiever and someone who is very action-oriented, but action without the right intention is the fastest way to burn out. If you think about the old story of "The Tortoise and the Hare," in the race of business, the ones who last long-term are the ones who take intentional steps forward versus those who run around colliding with whatever they happen to encounter. That just sounds painful.
A business leader, or at least one that I belive has the most value in both their community and their corporation, can keep their eye on the big vision, keep others accountable for moving towards this vision, and nurture those who make progress possible—stakeholders, customers, and vendors. This person is the definition of a conscious business leader. They think and act with strategic integrity to support the entire ecosystem around them, both internally and externally.
These people, and consequently, the organizations that they run, believe that a business' role is to add value to our communities and contribute to them in any way we can; they live and breathe their values and this mission from micro to macro levels.
If anything is clear, the world needs more business owners and leaders who lead with their hearts as much as their minds. So if you're looking to get started, here are the five traits that I believe make a conscious business leader:
1. Be Values-Driven
Have the self-awareness to assess your values both personally and professionally. This will ultimately determine how you choose to show up and act every day. With clear intentions led by values, a business leader embodies this awareness and inspires others to do the same.
2. Have a Commitment to the Collective
A conscious business leader knows that they can go further with a dedicated team. Their purpose as a leader isn't just to move a team towards a collective goal but to consider all individuals impacted along the way. They must show this same consideration for those within the team as they do for those outside the organization.
3. Be Accountable to the Triple Bottom Line
The triple bottom line is made up of people, planet, and profit. A conscious business leader knows that when you focus on people first, the profits will follow. Taking accountability for your actions and how they affect every part of the triple bottom line is important in establishing your strategic approach to problems.
4. Be Purpose-LedConscious business leaders are purpose-led. They aren't just showing up to earn a paycheck or secure the next client. Their work becomes a mission that is fulfilling on many levels. Be able to answer the question, "What are you doing this for?" and be proud of your response.
5. Act with Intention
Whether it is with your time, schedule, work-life balance, or actions, always be intentional. This requires the ability to step back and assess the next steps with clarity before pressing the gas forward. Again, remember "The Tortoise and the Hare."
I truly believe that these five steps are the future to building a great business. As a marketing success catalyst, I've learned that the clients who have these traits are the ones who are most successful in their marketing goals. Not only are they are creating an intentional path forward, their integrity is shining through in all of their communications. This allows them to share their story of impact through the value they provide in their business and attract like-minded customers. Marketing is just another example of a conscious act in business.
This person is the definition of a conscious business leader. They think and act with strategic integrity to support the entire ecosystem around them, both internally and externally.
Concious business leaders are the future of capitalism, where brands are community-led ecosystems nurturing everyone who comes into contact with them.
Are you a conscious business leader? Connect with me on Instagram @CharlotteChipperfield, I'd love to hear more about your journey of leading with intention.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist