As I mentioned in my last post, I have a new passion I’m learning about and excited to share with you – the Conscious Capitalism movement.

A recent Forbes article explains the basics. “Conscious capitalism is an approach to business that seeks to align profit-making activities with a greater sense of purpose and social responsibility. It emphasizes the idea that businesses should serve the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment, rather than solely focusing on maximizing the shareholders’ value and rewarding the bosses of the world.”


Why Are We Here?

Becoming a conscious business starts with “Higher Purpose”, which Conscious Capitalism names as the first of its 4 pillars. 

“Elevating humanity through business begins with knowing WHY your company exists. Without this, you have no compass to find and stay focused on your True North. Businesses should exist for reasons beyond just making a profit. We see profit as a necessary means to achieving your purpose—not as an end in and of itself.” (


How Can I Serve? 

Higher Purpose invites us into playing a bigger and more enjoyable game, and helps us avoid falling into greed and selfishness.

“For companies, purpose matters because it energizes them and allows them to transcend the parochial concerns of individual stakeholders. When all stakeholders are aligned around a common higher purpose, they are less likely to care only about their immediate, narrowly defined self-interest. Having a higher purpose is the starting point of what it means to be a conscious business: being self-aware, recognizing what makes the company truly unique, and discovering how the company can best serve [customers, society and all other stakeholders.] Having a compelling purpose can also galvanize a company to strive for greatness.”

(Conscious Capitalism, by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, pg 42)


The guiding principles that enable a company to realize its purpose are its core values – what the people and the company care most about.

John Mackey, in Conscious Capitalism, (p 43) offers these as the core values of his company, Whole Foods:

  • Selling the highest quality natural organic products available.
  • Satisfying and delighting our customers.
  • Supporting team member happiness and excellence.
  • Creating wealth through profits and growth.
  • Caring about our communities and the environment.
  • Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers.
  • Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education.

Can you feel the ‘wow factor’ here? The positive energy and compelling possibilities for all the people that they touch and impact?


You Can’t Fake This!

Business consultant and trainer, Marie Miyashiro, has created a model called Integrated 

Clarity ®, to identify and meet organizational needs. She identifies 6 organizational needs. Identity, which encompasses core values, is one of three “source needs”, as is Life Affirming Purpose.  

The way she views it, “…these values are not something we aspire to, but something that is part of our natural makeup, genetically encoded in our organizations and teams from their inception….Many groups I’ve worked with aren’t connected to their intrinsic values. Instead , they think of what they’d like to be only to find that it’s more difficult than they thought to become something they’re not.” (Empathy Factor, by Marie Miyashiro, pg 184)


Wonderful Ripple Effects

One of my coaching and training clients, Claudia Rucker, founder and former CEO of a nail salon and day spa, articulated part of her company’s purpose and core values, “to empower beauty professionals to be kind and humble, people, smart and hungry to grow, so they can be paid and seen as the professionals that they are.”  They believe that with the communication tools they learned with me that they can affect positive change in the beauty industry.   The work we did together has carried over to their personal lives in profound ways.  “Working at Aqua makes me want to be a better person at home.  Coming to work is coming to my happy place.”   

“Catherine and Empathic Communication have helped us break the cycle of distrust, judgment and disconnection, and create that magical work environment where we can thrive, enjoy our work again and grow a company that will take care of us all.” 


What Do You Think?

When you have a moment, I’d love to hear your thoughts about how Higher Purpose and core values played out in your workplace this week. 

In my next post in this series I’ll share what I’m learning about the second pillar of Conscious Capitalism, “Stakeholder Orientation” – taking care of everyone, including our planet. Remember, this is coupled with being more profitable and sustainable as a company!


Schedule your complimentary 50-minute Breakthrough Conversation at

Peace and blessings,

Photograph by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

About the Author Catherine

Catherine Cooley is a mediator and a communication coach. She has worked in environments of extreme conflict including prisons, the court system and local communities teaching what she calls "Breakthrough Conversations." She specializes in helping people foster clear, respectful, warm, cooperative relationships at home and in the workplace.

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