Over the last couple of days, I’ve been reviewing a venture capitalist firm that is focused on conscious capitalism. Its founders, Randy Eisenman and Sunny Vanderbeck, run Satori Capital based on the fundamental belief that a company should do right by all its stakeholders, and not just focus on shareholders.
Paradoxically, by focusing on creating value for all stakeholders, businesses end up creating greater value for their shareholders, too. When searching for companies to work with, Satori Capital also looks for businesses guided by a clearly defined mission.
Yes, we all need to make money. But as Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and Good to Great, suggests that money is like blood – you need it to function, but it is not your purpose for living.
All great military thinkers – from Sun Tzu to Carl von Clausewitz to Antoine-Henri Jomini – understood the power of moral force in conflict. After investing lifetimes studying how to win battles, each one learned that armies propelled by a strong common sense of purpose have a greater chance of victory.
The same must be true in business. If it’s all about money, then the company will not survive. If you don’t believe me, then ask yourself these questions:
1. How can Southwest pay airline pilots less and yet be the preferred airline to work for?
2. Why do Apple and Google employees put so much heart into their work?
The answer to these questions is that these stakeholders are driven by a common purpose – a united mission.
As Randy says, "Everyone likes to have a flag to salute."
A sense of purpose is the key to any success, so ask yourself the questions below to see if you can clearly identify that purpose, and encourage others to adopt it as their own.
1. What is my flag?
2. Where and how can I fly my flag?
3. What does my flag stand for?