Rajendra Sisodia is an author and the co-founder and co-Chairman of Conscious Capitalism Inc. He is also the FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College. His latest book, The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World, explores the idea of business as healing. He joins Kevin Monroe to discuss his book, and how its principles apply to organizations around the world.
Epidemic of Silent Suffering
Raj claims that the current crisis has only exacerbated underlying problems within the workplace and society: it has “made explicit what was already quite implicit and under the surface.” The faults in our systems have always been the unseen part of the iceberg. He shares statistics concerning stress-related deaths, overworking and disengagement, stating that it is evidence of an epidemic of silent suffering. Vulnerability has always defined us as human beings, he comments, but now it unites us. He and Kevin discuss their personal response to the current crisis. Raj says that he has been thinking about how he can serve.
The Healing Organization
A healing organization recognizes the role of business in the world. Raj believes human beings are put here to take care of each other. If you start a business, you could touch the lives of potentially thousands of people. Businesses which have the mindset of serving others and meeting their real needs are places of healing for those who work there. Employees leave work at the end of the day feeling better off than when they came in. They can also be a source of healing for customers and communities, as they provide goods and services that make a positive difference in their lives, rather than simply feeding their desires and addictions. Capitalism, Raj says, is the way in which we can cooperate with each other to achieve things we cannot do by ourselves, and come together with a shared purpose and shared values.
Unexpressed human caring is the most abundant underutilized resource in the world. Human beings have a need and desire to care: it brings fulfilment to our lives. If we can connect silent suffering and unexpressed human caring, we would have the opportunity for healing to take place, for both the receiver of care and the caregiver. Leaders must model the vulnerability and the willingness to express their needs. Kevin asks what differentiates regular leaders from leaders of healing organizations. Raj replies that leaders of healing organizations have a more expanded view of leadership; they recognize that leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to them, and that the way they lead impacts the way people live. Leaders, however, cannot be healing leaders if they haven’t yet healed themselves. Kevin inquires whether every business can become a healing organization. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future, Raj quotes.
The Right Thing to Do
Organizations shouldn’t decide to do the right thing purely because it may be good for business. Leaders must believe that taking care of people is the right thing to do in order to do it for the right reasons. The notion that the wellbeing of people is only an instrument that contributes to profits has to change. The business of business is people. True business creates value.
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