Last month I introduced the concept of Conscious Capitalism to the membership at the State of the Community Luncheon. Some members responded by saying, “Carlin has gone all ‘Bernie Sanders’ on us!” Since today is primary election day, I thought I should clear the record, to let you know what we’re really trying to accomplish with our Thriving Petoskey initiative.
Yes, we are trying to improve the human condition of our community, but we’re not trying to do it through higher taxes and government; we’re trying to do it through better businesses. Why businesses? Because as Nathan Havey of Thrive Consulting points out, businesses are the largest convener of human effort, not government. No one knows better how to engage and motivate people to fulfill a common purpose than leaders in the business community.
To do this, we don’t want to abandon free-market principles. Improving the human condition of the community should not come at the expense of profits. On the contrary. If we’re doing this correctly, we would like to see profits grow within those businesses that are fulfilling a higher purpose.
This model is working in businesses around the country and is growing through the Conscious Capitalism movement. As a result of fulfilling a purpose beyond profits, businesses are seeing an increase in customers and they are finding employees who are more loyal and passionate. And as a result, profits are growing as well.
Businesses around the country, and most businesses in the Petoskey area are doing great things. We need to tell that story. I see this as an important role the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce can play as part of our Thriving Petoskey initiative. Through movies and pop culture, and through politics, businesses are portrayed as greedy and unethical; they are always the “bad guys.” But the business people I know aren’t like that.
Now I’m not so naïve to think that all businesses are perfect. There are corrupt individuals out there on Wall Street, in Corporate America, and in our small town, and those individuals need to be held accountable for their actions. But like so many things, a few individuals doing bad things spoil it for the vast majority who are doing good things.
So, for as long as our Thriving Petoskey initiative continues, I’d like to find ways to showcase to the public the many good things businesses in the Petoskey area are doing. Please send me photos of your employees volunteering for a community cause. Let me know about the contributions your business is making to local non-profit organizations or school groups. Keep me up to date on changes you’re making to your business to improve the environment. And share with me creative things you’re doing to keep your staff happy and valued.
We need to tell these great stories so that the public will begin to see businesses as the “good guys” they really are. Perhaps there’s some ‘Bernie Sanders’ in all of us!
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