This is the first of a three-part review of a brilliant book called The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World by Raj Sisodia and Michael J. Gelb. Give the current circumstances our society is facing, I thought I’d review a book that truly gives me hope for the future. I hope it does the same for you!
A little background on the authors: Mr. Sisodia is well known for writing Conscious Capitalism, co-writing a book with Bob Chapman called Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family, and co-writing Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose. Mr. Gelb is known for writing How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, and Creativity On Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius.
Why I’m writing this review: I loved The Healing Organization so much that I thought it should be shared with as many of you as possible! Its mission is to educate us on the reality that businesses can and do have a conscience, and some of them are what the authors have categorized as healing organizations.
The status quo: Before we talk about what a healing organization is, let’s first start with what the authors tell us it isn’t. This quote paints a rather bleak picture of a traditional organization, but provides nice contrast to the alternative.
“generating as much profit and growth as possible… generating as much revenue as possible to as many people as possible at as high a price as you can get away with, whether people benefit from these products or not… minimize costs… by spending as little as possible on their people, squeezing their suppliers… externalizing any costs that they can onto society and the environment, and minimizing the taxes that they pay.”
Sounds about right.
The description of a healing organization sounds much different. This quote sums it up best:
“When we focus our business on meeting genuine human needs, creating value, and being of service to one another… these businesses have greater dynamism than traditional profit-centered companies. They operate from a higher purpose beyond just making money, they treat all their stakeholders with care… they operate in a way that generates engagement and fulfillment for their employees, delight and loyalty for their customers, positive contributions to their communities and to the environment, and excellent returns for their owners and investors.”
What a fantastic philosophy! The good news is that this isn’t just a dream – it’s reality, especially for the companies highlighted in the book. For part one of this review, I’d like to share a few excerpts about a company that I personally found to have an incredible mission and story.
THE POWER OF INNOCENCE: How Jaipur Rugs brought dignity, prosperity, and hope to 40,000 lower-caste women in India. The CEO is Nand Kishore Chaudhary – “he’s one of the most unusual CEOs in the world. Known as the ‘Ghandi’ of the carpet industry, he is an indefatigable champion of those on the lowest rung of Indian society.” After this description, it’s easy to see why he and his company is featured in this book.
“For NKC, innocence is the master key to healing. He explains ‘My life’s purpose is to create a business that is all about innocence: serving innocents, employing innocents, led by innocents. Innocent people have the power to see and understand things others cannot…. That will transform the business beyond recognition, because they can go so deep into the human condition.”
This next quote tells us that the mission of Jaipur Rugs doesn’t just have an impact on the employees, but the customers as well. NKC says:
“When we tell our story to customers, they are not only willing but happy to pay more than before. They tell us that there is no better company, no more honest people with higher integrity than they have encountered here. Those customers are being healed as well.”
To finish this story, I’d like to leave you with another perspective on business from the sublime NKC.
“I think about how business can transform society. Companies understand how to operate, how to serve customers, how to make a profit. But if a business is driven by love, it can truly transform. People want to give and receive love. Businesses that enable that will not only succeed, they will also heal society.”
Wow. What an inspirational leader and company! Stay tuned for part two 🙂