After attending the 2016 CEO Summit in Austin, Texas, I remain a committed believer in conscious capitalism, which exists to elevate humanity. As a conscious capitalist, we make intentional decisions to do the right thing for our associates and anyone who touches Abrasive Technology. That is the first priority. And profit is the manifestation of doing the right thing. Not the other way around: that’s really the founding principle of a conscious capitalistic business.
It’s a red pill/blue pill thing. If you eat the red pill, you really have to believe people are inherently good. If a business creates an environment that is safe and trusting, and is dedicated to the best of its people and those around it – while remaining authentic and transparent – then profit would be the manifestation of that.
The blue pill works the other way – looking at spreadsheets, dollars, numbers and profit first. When that’s the case, people do everything at all costs to make sure the bottom line looks strong, and perhaps be good to people along the way. The two approaches are fundamentally different beliefs.
How to proceed must come from the leaders of the organization. While there are a lot of people who say they believe in their people or stakeholders, or want to do the right thing, their actions and business methodology revolve around costs and expenses and the bottom line of profits margins. Anytime you hear leaders talk about “people first” and you see “profits first,” you know those folks are not completely aligned with a more conscious mindset that comes from the inside.
Believing in conscious capitalism involves trust: it’s one of those things where you wake up in the morning and make a decision about who we’re going to be today.
I believe people are inherently good. People are born good, babies are good, they’re smiling and curious, for example. There’s a lot of data that shows children are far more curious, inventive and creative than adults. One of the primary reasons for this is as adults gain experience, they create walls and put on armor to protect themselves. If I can create an organization with an environment where people can be their best selves because they feel safe and trusted, they’ll develop their work skills and their skills as a human being. It’s incredible what people can accomplish. If you need proof of that, look around us every day. There hasn’t been a major problem in the world that people haven’t been able to solve when they work together and they collaborate to do great things. The proof is in the wonder of the world around us.
CEO, Abrasive Technology