Success in the 21st Century is all about consciousness. The collective consciousness of humanity is on the rise, shifting to being altruistic and global from being selfish, tribal and local.
Today’s business leaders and their businesses have a choice: lead this shift, or ignore it and be left behind. In business, a re-orientation to a triple bottom line approach – planet, people and profit – from a solitary focus on profit reflects this shift. In leadership, an evolution from managing by fear and intimidation to managing with love and trust, from playing power over to playing power with, and from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance reflects this shift. Successful leaders lead from the heart, not the head.
Corporations which exist to optimize good and profit will replace those that exist solely to maximize profits for shareholders while externalizing as many as possible of the negative consequences of corporate behavior onto the Commons. The benefit corporation is the agent for the new economic paradigm because it endows the corporation with a social and environmental conscience that transcends and includes the usual limited profit oriented one.
In the new economic paradigm, there will be a clear choice between doing business in corporations that are legally committed to doing the right thing by stockholders, society and the environment, or in those that are committed to business as usual. Entrepreneurs in the new paradigm will have a clear choice between receiving benefit capital that is committed to optimizing not only return on investment but also social and environmental impact, or receiving conventional venture capital that is only concerned with maximizing ROI.
Startworks may be the first benefit capital firm. We invest in benefit corporations inspired to not only be the best in the world but also be the best for the world. We work with their founders to create the iconic companies that will lead and co-create the new economy. We help our portfolio companies design customized governance architecture that embodies the new global consciousness, supports their heroic purpose and values, and ensures continuity of culture. We impart to the directors and officers of our portfolio companies the new skills and behaviors necessary to embody a triple-bottom line approach to business. We also mentor our CEOs using the science of consciousness and the neuroscience of leadership to help them lead from the heart and emanate positive work environments that engender peak performance.
Our approach to building companies is based on sustainable business practices that produce better leaders, better companies and better returns on investment than traditional approaches. The economic data indicates that businesses built using such practices out-perform their peers. See Firms of Endearment by Rajendra S. Sisodia, David B. Wolfe and Jagdish N. Sheth, Profit for Life by Joseph H. Bragdon and The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance by Robert G. Eccles, Ionnis Ioannou and George Serafeim (Harvard Business School Working Paper November 4, 2011).