On July 12, 2022, we continued our Four Tenets in Action series with Conscious Capitalism Austin board members Andrew Rauch, Vice President of Growth at Improving, and Lisa Novak, Vice President of Employee Experience at data.world, in addition to the co-founder and CEO of data.world, Brett Hurt.
This conversation provided a valuable opportunity for leaders from one of our local communities to share their experiences creating a business founded in a Higher Purpose, how they achieve success while staying true to their values, and how a focus on purpose, people, and community factors into their decision-making and the company’s prosperity.
Here, we’ve gathered three of our biggest takeaways on the impact of Higher Purpose and why the other Tenets of Conscious Capitalism depend on this critical starting point.
Your Higher Purpose is your company’s reason for existing.
Higher Purpose is the First Tenet of Conscious Capitalism because it is the reason a company exists in the first place beyond just making a profit. It is what the company’s entire business model is oriented around, the lens through which the other tenets are viewed, and a promise to the world that communicates its vision, mission, and values.
Why are we doing this? Why does it matter? What change are we actually making in the world?
Brett started data.world with the purpose of creating a global community with access to the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resources in the world. For him, it meant looking at “the ‘Big Why’ that Simon Sinek talks about in his Ted Talk,” and asking himself the questions, “Why are we doing this? Why does it matter? What change are we actually making in the world?”
From the data.world platform itself—which is focused on community, discovery, and collaboration—and the work data.world does socially, including public advocacy for open data, to creating an award-winning company culture, Brett and Lisa are focused on leading the company with the company’s Higher Purpose at the forefront of every decision.
A clear purpose creates the ability attract like-valued stakeholders and partners.
Once you can define your Higher Purpose, you are then better positioned to to attract stakeholders aligned with your core principles and able to ensure you are collectively working towards the same goal.
Brett noted, “It’s way, way easier to motivate people in a company, to hire people to a company, to win customers, to win partners, if you are truly passionate about what you’re doing and you truly believe the cause is great.”
And data.world leaders’ shared passion extends into how they brand their company, how they embrace the uniqueness of their workforce, their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and much more.
Having a North Star leads to new opportunities to find your place in socially conscious movements.
In addition to supporting the Conscious Capitalism movement, data.world is a proud Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) and a certified B Corporation, too.
Lisa explained that establishing data.world as a PBC, a form of incorporation, meant that their first stakeholders and investors “had to sign off on the idea that not all of that money is going to go towards driving revenue or increasing margin, that [they were] going to actively spend on something that is for the public benefit.”
Why would you not want to take the additional step to evolve capitalism when you’re taking the step to start a company in the first place and pioneer something new into the world?
As an extension of that, Brett also pursued B Corp status, a certification created by B Lab, the same nonprofit that created the PBC Foundation. For him, these movements are simply an evolution of capitalism and entrepreneurship, a more deliberate step towards using business to make the world a better place.
Often asked why he decided to pursue B Corp status and why he wants to create that differentiation from other companies outside of the socially conscious sphere of business, Brett responds, “Why do you not want to be different? Why would you not want to take the additional step to evolve capitalism when you’re taking the step to start a company in the first place and pioneer something new into the world?”
Conscious, purpose-driven business is the future.
As individuals and communities become more aware of their impact on the world, they’re increasingly looking to companies, brands, and employers for transparency and commitment to a defined sense of purpose.
“I really think that 10-15 years from now, people are going to be asking, especially this next generation that’s much more intentional about how they want to spend their time, they’re going to be asking why you are not a B Corporation,” Brett noted.
Whether it’s aligning with the Conscious Capitalism movement or pursuing certifications like B Corp, PBC, and many others, it’s becoming increasingly clear that purpose-driven leaders and businesses will be more prepared to combat the challenges and leverage the opportunities of the future.
To learn more about Conscious Capitalism and each of the Four Tenets, give a listen to our Introduction to Conscious Capitalism playlist.
Want to continue this conversation with other Conscious Leaders and gain access to exclusive post-event discussion questions? Join our Senior Leader Network for more.
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