Business is a social construct, an idea around how we organize ourselves. According to Gabriel, there are three scales of flourishing. There’s the individual level, a business level, and a macro level. When you find a way to flourish in each, you create sustainability for your business, and beyond that, how your business can contribute to the greater world.
Astronauts experience something the rest of us never will as dramatically as they do, but still can and do in our own way. It's called the "overview effect". It's basically this extreme emotional experience that raises the consciousness of the astronaut where they become more humanity focused versus self and ambition focuses. Or put another way, their purpose is elevated and becomes clearer.
This is what organizations have the privilege and honor of doing for themselves and all of the the stakeholders they impact if they so choose. To raise their level of consciousness, understanding, empathy and connection to each other and our world.
What do I mean by that?
Well take Whole Foods for example. They have been a shining example of how beautifully striking the sweet spot of shared purpose can work when the organizational leaders intentionally focus on it. John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods, points to this as a leading factor of their success in the book he co-authored called Conscious Capitalism.
They went out of their way to make explicit the intrinsic purpose and motivation of the company, which was to help the world be more healthy. Then they work diligently to find, hire and nurture all stakeholders in that purpose. The most obvious example is how this purpose played out for customers. Whole Foods constantly prioritizes finding the best quality foods to offer their customers.
They even take it a step further by nudging their customers to buy healthier foods like fruits and vegetables through product placement and marketing. Despite Mackey and much of the leadership team believing a primarily plant based diet to be best, they promote it with employees and customers but still make available the highest quality of meat and other types of foods to respect and meet their team and customers where they are.
With Whole Foods employees the take it a step further and reward and encourage personal health and fitness. They bring in on site health screening, wellness resources and education and specifically reward employees who are healthy or become increasingly healthy.
They intentionally go out of their way to make decisions that take care and respect the purpose of everyone effected by the company. One specific way the leadership team keeps themselves disciplined at doing this is to regularly have leadership meetings with each stakeholder included or at least figuratively represented. Like a frontline store employee, stockholder and vendor. Right there with them as they make important decision about the direction and strategy of the company.
What's the result of all of this painstaking focus on purpose and do-goodery?
Customers are more loyal because they know where you stand as a company and become your biggest advocates and marketers, employees love the company and do the same, vendors are treated as extended family and ultimately everyone is part of a positive ecosystem that resonants far beyond their direct influence.
In a nutshell, it makes the world a better place.
Side note: I know Whole Foods recently sold out however everyone can agree their rise and more importantly how they grew was definitely a huge, noteworthy accomplishment.
A Psychological Transformation Only Astronauts Experience