Tag Archives: Blake Nordstrom

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Good Business – Vision. Stories. Pathways.


by Jeff Klein

Promoting ideas has been a principal focus of my work for the past six years, beginning with my work as Executive Director of FLOW and continuing today with Being Human, Conscious Capitalism, and Working for Good among others.

Ideas are powerful. Napoleon Hill noted that “Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.” John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.” Most everything constructed or created by human beings begins with an idea. As the Buddha observed, “Mind is the forerunner of all things.”

But how do we bring ideas to life? How do we catalyze movements or facilitate emerging evolutionary processes (if we can facilitate such things)? How do we overcome the inertia of existing perceptions, patterns and ways of being? How do we get beyond fear, doubt and resistance?

One of the patterns or processes I observe for addressing such questions is defined by the progression of these three words: Vision. Stories. Pathways. Here’s how it works or, at least, how I observe it working.

Vision: This is the idea part: An inspiring idea which is animated by a story or projection of what the world will look like, how things will be better, when the idea is manifested through action, when it fully comes to life. Compelling, inspiring visions can touch the core of our being, capture our imagination and activate our passion. But fear, doubt, inertia and other forces and factors can inhibit us from fully engaging with a vision and from taking meaningful action towards manifesting it.

Stories: By this I refer to stories of people who are already embodying the vision, bringing it to life everyday in many ways. As we see that the inspiring vision in more than a fantasy, that it is achievable and already real, tangible and manifest, the forces of resistance diminish, and we can let the possibility of manifesting the vision move us towards action. But where do we go? What do we do?

Pathways: Here’s where pathways come into play. If we outline various ways people can engage with the vision, in action, we bring it more fully to life – for them and in general, as they become part of the story of its emergence. Pathways can include opportunities to learn more, to create something, to work with others who are already engaged, among others.

Let’s briefly look at Conscious Capitalism as an example of this pattern applied:

The vision of Conscious Capitalism is a world in which everyone has real opportunity to flourish – to express their innate capacities and talents, to learn, grow and develop throughout their lives, and to share in the rich bounty of life, while we as a species increasingly become more skillful at living in healthy relationship to ourselves, each other and the environment. Entrepreneurship and business are core drivers of this evolution or revolution of our social economy.

Stories of companies like Whole Foods, The Container Store and Southwest Airlines, and of business leaders like Howard Behar (retired President of Starbucks), Eric Ryan (co-founder of Method), Blake Nordstrom (CEO of Nordtsrom, Inc.) among many others, serve as inspiring models of examples of the vision coming to life.

As we recognize that this – the transformation or evolution of the way we conduct business and the way our economy functions – is an emerging process and not a complete product, we draw inspiration from these examples and recognize new opportunities to break new ground, to improve on what they are doing and raise the bar – bringing the vision even more fully to life. Pathways to action and engagement include learning more about the movement and the companies and people actively involved in it; working with, buying from and investing in companies on the frontier of the movement; starting our own companies; exploring new ways of working together and of creating and exchanging value; and an infinite array of other possibilities.

For more information and ongoing exploration of this pattern of Vision. Stories. Pathways. and, specifically, how it applies to Conscious Capitalism, join me for It’s Just Good Business every Friday on en*theos Radio, 11:00 am pacific time (or stream past shows any time). The program débuted Friday, January 6, 2012, with a conversation with Brian Johnson, founder, philosopher and CEO of Philosopher’s Notes and en*theos Academy. And visit consciouscapitalism.org to engage with the Conscious Capitalism movement.

Jeff Klein is CEO of Working for Good, a company that activates, produces and facilitates mission-based, Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns and Conscious Culture development programs.

Jeff is a trustee and member of the executive committee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and authored the award-winning book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living.

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Conscious Capitalism CEO Conference

 

Jeff Klein CEO of Working for Good reports on the Conscious Capitalism Annual CEO Conference in Austin,Texas and CC co-founder Whole Foods, CEO John Mackey. 

  Last month (October 12 –14, 2011) at the Lost Pines outside Austin, Texas, Conscious Capitalism, Inc convened the 5th Annual Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit, with 100-plus business leaders. Presentations and conversations on the theme of the Summit – Unleashing Stakeholder Value – reflected on the interdependent nature of business and Professor Ed Freeman’s insight that “Capitalism and business are the greatest form of social cooperation ever created.”

The most inspiring and encouraging perspective emerged from the combined insights of the most successful company-builders and leaders at the Summit, which included John Mackey and Walter Robb, co-CEOs of Whole Foods Market, Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, Howard Behar, Former President of Starbucks, Blake Nordstrom, CEO of Nordstrom, Inc., Ron Shaich, Founder and Executive Chairman of Panera Bread Company, and Doug Rauch, Former President of Trader Joe’s and current CEO, Conscious Capitalism, Inc.

 My summary of their insights, based on their experience building and leading multi-billion-dollar businesses, with tens of thousands of employees: Love and care are the keys to building a wildly successful business, which creates value for all of its interdependent stakeholders.

This insight reflects growing recognition of the human social underpinnings and purpose of business, and of the power of human connection for creating value and building a resilient and sustainable business.

Unleashing stakeholder value is a process of activating people to bring their intelligence, energy, creativity and other resources to the business ecosystem to create value for themselves, each other and the system (i.e. business).

Customers bring their needs, desires and expectations, as well as their money and other feedback to a business, which drive innovation, quality and dependability to respond to and fulfill their demand. Employees bring their creative, productive energy, intelligence and presence to a business, forming the corpus that fulfills the functions of the business and serving as the interface with customers, vendors and others. Suppliers serve as channels for resource inputs, vendors serve as conduits to the marketplace for products and services. Investors, communities, the environment and other stakeholders bring their respective needs and resources to the business ecosystem.  Through the interplay of these stakeholders, energy, information and resources flow through the system, creating value for all and enhancing the vitality of the system – building healthy, sustainable businesses.

An understanding of the interrelated and interdependent nature of business and of its human foundations, coupled with an understanding about human needs and human motivation, and practical experience building successful, large organizations, leads to the embodied understanding that love and care are the keys to building a wildly successful business, which creates value for all of its interdependent stakeholders. Since we are all part of the interdependent system and process that is business, we can all play a part in cultivating cultures of love and caring in the businesses we build, work for, buy from and otherwise engage with. We are business and business is us. How we show up in business, is how business will show up in the world.

In my next two posts in this series, I will continue the introduction to Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™, which I began in my last post.

Please join me for It’s Just Good Business at the en*theos Academy and join us for conversation on our Facebook page.

 

Jeff Klein is CEO of Working for Good, a company that activates, produces and facilitates mission-based, Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns and Conscious Culture development programs.

Jeff is a founding trustee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and authored the award-winning book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, to support conscious entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, leaders and change agents at work. He is offering a 6-week tele-course entitled It’s Just Good Business, through the en*Theos Academy for Optimal Living.