Conscious Business: More than a Passing Trend

Conscious Business: More than a Passing Trend

Back in March, I was challenged by the West Monroe Partners West Coast Senior Managing Director Tom Bolger to read the book Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey. I will be honest, I am a reader most enticed by fiction and Dorothy Parker. However, when Tom says to do something… I tend to take that pretty seriously.

In all honesty, I was captivated by this book. I enjoyed it so much more than I really thought that I would. It left a lasting impression on me that I believe I will take into business for the remainder of my career. However, in talking to some other people about this model of business and leadership, I was greeted with some skepticism and cynicism about the conscious model being a “new business fad” or fleeting.

Conscious business is defined as business that choose to follow a business strategy in which they seek to benefit both human beings and the environment.

I have a theory that conscious businesses are going to be the most successful in our economy, and that they are here to stay. To support this theory, I make the following arguments:

  1. Intrinsic motivation is a stronger indicator of job-performance than extrinsic motivation. In this instance, extrinsic motivation = money. I have read multiple studies on job satisfaction and perhaps one of the most compelling is the Society for Human Resource Management. Annually, this group surveys the nation on job satisfaction and for the last few years money was not the top motivator. Instead, the respectful treatment of employees at all levels was the top satisfier!
  2. The millennial representation in the workforce is growing exponentially. With so many millennials passionate about making an impact, making a difference, remaining entrepreneurial and feeling connected to their workplace, companies MUST offer all of these things to attract top talent.
  3. Conscious business does not neglect financial responsibility. One of the most important lessons I learned from the book was that it is good to have a business that cares about profit and strives to be successful. The means of the motivation for that success, however, must be powered by the desire to empower its people to connect with the higher purpose of the business.

I do believe conscious businesses will be the most successful brand of business, and I am proud to be working for a company that believes this to be true as well. West Monroe continually invests and develops the culture of our organization and threads us all to a higher purpose.

In closing, I will share a quote from John Mackey that captures conscious business to the core: “This is what we know to be true: business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.”


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222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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