Corporate Unconsciousness: a Wakeup Call


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Have you asked yourself:

Will I make more money by being dishonest or not being customer friendly?

Am I at risk and my company at risk by having lower value standards?

Will my values make customers prefer me and /or pay more?

Will I be more successful as a firm of endearment (firms that endear themselves to their stakeholders)?

What stops me from being one?

Am I afraid my competition will overtake me by doing something unethical?

Should I have a conscience, should my company have a conscience?

Why? Read on

Naturally, you should wonder if corporate consciousness makes sense or we should remain in a state of corporate unconsciousness. Corporate consciousness, the very soul of a company is generally missing in many companies, though it is masked by things like CSR and motherhood mission statements.(In the book, Firms of Endearment, the authors (Sisodia, Wolfe and Sheth) show that such firms (that have corporate consciousness) made more money and 8.4 times higher shareholder returns in a 10 year period than the S&P returns and 3.1 times the returns that Good to Great companies gave). They espouse share of heart over share of wallet, and the emotionally intelligent leader, and the new Capitalism of Caring. Surely enough returns for you to think about corporate consciousness. Is eight times higher returns good enough reason for you to read on and think of changing?

Think of politicians seeking more power, and the impact of greed and corruption. We all look at greed and corruption with (depending on who we are and where we are) with disregard and shrug them away as being necessary, or with contempt or even sometimes with revulsion. We do little about it because success is measured in money, position and power. So is corporate success. The ends are often more important than the means.

Think of companies such as Godrej and Tatas, Costco, Johnson & Johnson, Traders Joe, Whole Foods, Google (and I am sure you know others). Are they disadvantaged for being honest and ethical or at least trying to be?

The economic downturn is a result of greed and selfishness in business– and the times are definitely changing. The public is standing up against the ethical and moral bankruptcy of certain corporations guilty of a “what’s in it for me” mentality throughout the western world. The consumer is less likely to accept irresponsible business practices, quoting from Streinbrecher. He says: In my mind, corporate consciousness can be broken down to the three “R”s: Reverence, Respect and Responsibility for people and the environment.

So what is corporate consciousness about? Is it about being honest and straightforward, or is it about bending the rules to get ahead? Does it mean making less money?

The answer is simple. Corporate consciousness means building a culture of consciousness and awareness and doing the right thing for stakeholders, and as leaders in culture consciousness. Doing this is called conscious capitalism and it means making more money in the future.

The phrase “conscious capitalism” was coined by Muhammad Yunus, recipient of a 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his creation in 1983 of Bangladesh’s pioneering microlender, Grameen Bank.

What we are finding is that conscious capitalism or corporate consciousness builds a culture of trust, of ethics, of teamwork of caring for people. In such an environment, value creation flourishes, where you create value for people: employees, customers, partners and owners.

We have learnt from my previous articles that

Values Create Value, (see my article CSR or Capital Consciousness, and my article The Legal Case Against Shareholder Capitalism.

We learn that creating value for people is important. We learn that our business is a people business and if we create value for the people we deal with such as employees, customers, and partners) we create greater value (read profits) for ourself

So forget profit capitalism, stop corporate unconsciousness and build a company with a soul and start conscious capitalism.

Conscious capitalism, conscious leadership and conscious culture becomes the norm (or core values)

Corporate capitalism and the stakeholder perspective become a result rather than the motive.

Corporate consciousness culture is the real bottom line. A company with a well-developed culture, open to all that its members want to bring, easily outperforms competitors. They will create value for stakeholders and themselves. Culture and consciousness are powerful new partners that will decide sustainability and profitability and value creation in the new economy.

I hope you will say: I promote the creation of a Statement of Corporate Consciousness. I will not masquerade by using buzz words and by doing business as usual. You agree this will not work. The thriving, high-performing environment is transforming the hearts and minds of leaders to generate a new mind-set in business that will see us using the right tools and the right values for prosperity and universal well-being.j

Bottom line – if you aren’t on the Corporate Consciousness bandwagon, you’d better hop on quickly. These issues aren’t going away any time soon – at least not in the foreseeable future. Let us help you become true value creators

Be the change you want to see in the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gautam Mahajan
Gautam Mahajan, President of Customer Value Foundation is the leading global leader in Customer Value Management. Mr Mahajan worked for a Fortune 50 company in the USA for 17 years and had hand-on experience in consulting, training of leaders, professionals, managers and CEOs from numerous MNCs and local conglomerates like Tata, Birla and Godrej groups. He is also the author of widely acclaimed books "Customer Value Investment: Formula for Sustained Business Success" and "Total Customer Value Management: Transforming Business Thinking." He is Founder Editor of the Journal of Creating Value ( and runs the global conference on Creating Value (


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