“Jamshid Alamuti has been leading and designing transformation for many years in the creative industry and beyond. His ability to bring people together and evoke the best from them has inspired professionals worldwide to challenge themselves, their roles and contributions, and to further develop their talents and skills.
As catalyst and strategist, he is committed to the transformation of businesses into socially positive organizations, advancing human well-being and securing sustainable and environmentally-centered business models.
The Creative Incubator, a program designed and directed by Alamuti, is dedicating it’s 2020 edition to the topic of Conscious Business: paving the way for organizations to transform their business strategy and become more human-centric while underlining the impact of creativity in this process.
Read how he came about this topic, its urgency, and how to pursue transformation in all types of organizations.”
The very first time I was confronted with the phrase CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM, I had mixed feelings. I also had to admit my lack of general knowledge on this subject matter. Why had I not heard anything about it???
It was surprisingly easy to find information and facts on the topic. The concept of conscious capitalism and conscious business is not new at all. In fact, if you read the earliest books on capitalism, you realize there has always been a massive emphasis on the “conscious” part of it. It is both sad and interesting how, mainly driven by shareholders, the conscious part was pushed away to be forgotten. Running successful businesses had stopped being inclusive. They were not growth-oriented anymore, only profit-oriented. And yes, there is a huge difference between growth and profit. I am sure you all agree.
When you look at the results and even the profit rate of conscious businesses over the last 20 years, you see exponential growth compared to “normal” corporates. Partially, 4 times more profit! So why have shareholders stopped following the more profitable trend?
The answer to this question is complex: there are multiple, debatable reasons and roots back to our core human instinctive behavior. As a matter of fact, it started to be a topic of interest since technology drove transparency and global awareness. In the past, no one was really defending the rights of all stakeholders within a corporate cycle. Managers were tasked to keep shareholders happy. Best case scenario, some workers’ councils were founded to support and fight for employee rights. But seldom was there a formal body within an organization looking out and ensuring any benefits to the environment, society, suppliers, and basically all other easily forgotten stakeholders. Worrying about them and keeping them happy or even considering them within your business strategy, means more work, more dedication, and probably more costs. So, of course, if you can hide from it, and hide it from others that you don’t care, why bother? Especially if you have one focus only: as a manager, you want to achieve your financial goals, which will secure your bonus and please the shareholders…
It is important to differentiate between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and conscious business. CSR, similar to communication campaigns helping brands claim a purpose, is almost like an escape path from true conscious business. These types of activities are made to make the brand look good. “We are the good ones” is the core idea behind it. Fortunately, the current and upcoming generation is smarter than that. It is no longer enough if you, on the one hand, run a business that massively damages the environment, and at the same time, spend some of your profit to build a hospital or school in some poor country. The problems we face today are more serious than those and need a sustainable and much more global response. United, unified, long-term and deeply rooted in one primary commitment: save human beings. And I have to say it clearly: it is about saving ourselves, not the planet. The planet, as we all know, does not need saving. If it has enough of us, it will get rid of us. Very naturally!!!
With that said, conscious capitalism and conscious business seem to me the only option to run your business. If my assumption is right, which I strongly believe in, the next question I am addressing is the
As I started to dig deeper, it was relatively easy to come across the fundamentals of conscious capitalism. There is purpose right in the middle, surrounded by conscious culture, conscious leadership, and stakeholder management (in a broad sense). Once you get involved with these different areas, you quickly understand what sets of beliefs, values, behavior, and strategies are needed. However, as I started to work on the facilitation of the transformation process, I discovered the real challenge—the target groups.
Obviously, it is the easiest to follow the concept of conscious business, if you are starting your company these days. You would be foolish if you didn’t. Following the philosophy of conscious capitalism ensures you make money, but it also makes you be loved, wanted, and sustainable. In fact, these will be reasons why you would make money.
If you are a small or a midsize company, it is already a serious challenge. There will be a long list of criteria to tick off before being able to transform a company that has been doing business differently for many years. Not only will you need to have the full backup of the investors, shareholders, and the top management, but you might have to reconsider your business strategy, market strategy, and most probably the entire chain of production. A massive shift of culture will be needed, and a long list of measures undertaken.
Of course, you can imagine, the bigger the organizations, the more complicated it becomes. However, industry giants might end up being under such enormous pressure from their consumers that they would have to go for a fundamental change. At least they have the budget and might be able to financially survive many years of transformation.
The way I see it: more and more small and new businesses will follow the concept of conscious business in the future. They will elbow out traditional corporate. Bigger organizations will end up transforming as there will be no other option or do their best to survive as long as possible, by keeping CSR projects running and beautiful brand purpose campaigns.
So, as I had to take a side and position myself in the game, my focus is to support anyone willing to transform towards a conscious business-driven society, to discover the why and the how so that they are capable of helping themselves and others. I look forward to anyone who is eager and hungry to join the journey.
Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member