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About the Author
Nancy Pautsch is the Chief Evangelist of Stakeholder Value (President) of Envision IT, a group of curious and compassionate people growing a soulful company. Envision’s mission is to enrich the lives of their stakeholders. Their business is technology consulting focused on optimization to ensure technology is an enabler to employee engagement and business success. Envision is the go-to technology partner for organizations across the U.S. Nancy has been in the technology industry for 20+ years. Keys to her leadership are a growth mindset and fostering collaborative cultures that breed a grounded sense of purpose while striving for excellence. As a thriving Firm of Endearment, Envision has been lauded locally for their contributions to the community and economy; recognized globally in the technology industry as ‘best of the best’ for engineering quality, innovation, and customer experience; and highlighted by the Conscious Capitalism movement as a model for stakeholder orientation.

How Putting People First Creates a Thriving Business

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The race to maximize profits at any and all costs is dragging us past the moment where true magic can happen in business. Our experience at Envision IT proves that conscious business can be both profitable, and actually help to elevate humanity. A new day is dawning for corporate America.

 

It’s not a pipe dream, it’s real.

 

Companies like Patagonia, Greyston Bakery, and others have achieved incredible growth even as they’ve doubled down on their social mission. And they’re not alone. Several real-life case studies are outlined in the business book, Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose. With solid research, the authors learned that conscious businesses (aka Firms of Endearment or FoEs) outperform the S&P 500 Index by 14 to one. The guideposts for much of this success are the tenets of Conscious Capitalism, a movement promoting conscious business.

 

Reading Firms of Endearment inspired us at Envision IT to further investigate conscious business and we swiftly went “all in” without hesitation. Now our thriving conscious company is yet another example of business being a force for good . . . and how that is good business.

 

All in for us means we not only embraced the pillars of Conscious Capitalism, we live and breathe them every day – and eventually we were able to operationalize them within our business model. The pillars are:

 

  • Higher purpose
  • Stakeholder perspective
  • Conscious leadership
  • Conscious culture

 

Each of these pillars is important. At Envision, we’ve combined the stakeholder perspective and higher purpose together. Our mission, or higher purpose, is to enrich the lives of our stakeholders.

 

What does it mean to be stakeholder-centric?

 

Envision IT’s stakeholders are our employees (Envisioners), our clients, our business partners, and our communities. And we’ve experienced the irrefutable interdependence among these stakeholders. For example, as Envisioners thrive, so do our other stakeholders. Ultimately, that drives our business success.

 

It’s a virtuous cycle. We make money doing good things, then we do good things with our earnings. Purpose and profit are our recipe for success.

 

Practically, this means we approach everything we do with the utmost mindfulness. From the technology companies we partner with to our compensation structure, we consider how every aspect of our business will impact our stakeholders. Along the way we’ve learned that it’s not always perfectly equal, but gosh we come close. Then we remind ourselves that perfection is pure fiction, and intention-driven execution reigns at Envision.

 

Envisioners

 

We believe people are the most important part of every business, and that’s true for us. We genuinely and deeply care for each other. With that, we work to support Envisioners in living a whole life.

 

Professionally, we offer an inspiring mission and meaningful work, and we ensure each Envisioner understands how their contributions serve our shared mission. Compensation is straightforward and more than fair with an intention to foster a sense of security, comfort, and care.

 

Then, we add benefits that matter to Envisioners. This isn’t a box-checking exercise, but rather acts of endearment that apply to them living a whole life. For example, one year we noticed that a lot of Envisioners were having babies, so we decided to create a new benefit mid-year to seed college funds for our employees’ newborns. The next year we realized how many Envisioners had pets, and so decided to offer subsidized pet insurance.

 

While current statistics across the nation benchmark only 34% of employees as being engaged, we’re humbled that we have 100% employee engagement at Envision. To be clear, we don’t aim to just engage, we aim to enrich our employees’ lives. And when Envisioners are living whole lives, that’s a sign of Envision living our mission.

 

Our clients

 

Our business is technology consulting focused on optimization that starts with the end-user experience. We help ensure technology enables employee engagement and business success for our clients.

 

Our philosophy is this: employees want to effectively contribute at work and be acknowledged for it. Increasingly they rely on technology to help them do their jobs. When their technology doesn’t work, it’s difficult to fully contribute. That can make for a bad day at work and beyond. They may go home and not be their best with their families, or at the PTA meeting, or at a sporting event, etc. The result is a negative ripple effect which flows out into the rest of society.

 

Envisioners make. awesome. work. That’s our tagline and that’s what we do. When our clients’ technology environments are secure, agile, and optimized for the end-user experience, we’ve supported their employee engagement and productivity. That’s Envision living our mission.

 

Our leadership

 

The Envision executive leadership team have a growth mindset and are committed to our side hustle of self-work. We are relentlessly devoted to continuously evolving as conscious leaders. We each have our own individual daily practice that may include reading, mindfulness, exercise, baby/pet time, and more. And we complete more formal training together that has included executive coaching, workshops, conferences, and group reading. 

 

We are servant leaders accountable to ourselves, each other, all Envisioners, and our other stakeholders. Many of us are refugees from toxic corporate cultures, and so we’ve experienced the ‘profit-maximization-at-all-costs’ fallacy firsthand. That motivates us to do the work of conscious leaders so we can cultivate a conscious culture for Envision. 

 

At this point you won’t be surprised when I tell you how we measure success as the leadership team: it’s when we — and everyone we are accountable to — are living whole lives.

 

A funny thing happens when you build a conscious culture

 

Since Envision transitioned to operating as a conscious company, we are enthusiastically delivering on our mission of enriching the lives of our stakeholders.

 

Here’s proof in the pudding:

 

  • Envisioners are 100% engaged and the most common word they use to describe Envision as a company and the leadership is caring. (Source Inc “Best Places to Work” 2019 surveys.)
  • Envision has a rich hiring pipeline of candidates.
  • Client satisfaction is 100% awesome, according to our last 180 days of client surveys.
  • Business partners and industry leaders have globally recognized Envision as the best of the best for engineering quality, project delivery, and customer satisfaction.
  • Envision has been awarded locally for their contributions to the economy and community.
  • Within the first three years of Envision’s all in conscious business in practice our business grew 7x top line with more than 50% improved profitability.

 

This is making. awesome. work.

 

Evolving consciously

 

Are you feeling curious about what you could achieve as a conscious company?

 

Start by recognizing or re-evaluating your company’s higher purpose. What is the soul of your company? What’s the purpose beyond profit? Again, ours is to enrich the lives of our stakeholders and we do that by making. awesome. work. As Envisioners, we are a group of curious and compassionate people growing a soulful company. With intention, we’ve woven our mission into our business model, competitive differentiation, and go-to-market strategy.

 

Next, take a hard look at your leadership. It’s impossible to have a conscious culture without conscious leadership, and you can’t be a conscious leader without committing to a lot of self-work.

 

Fortunately, there are some incredible resources out there to help. I recommend exploring the Conscious Capitalism movement, a community of like-minded business people who believe we can elevate humanity through business.

 

You might also want to add these books to your (and your team’s) reading list:

 

  • Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose, by Raj Sisodia, David Wolfe, and Jag Sheth
  • The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success, by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Warner Klemp
  • Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia
  • Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family, by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia
  • Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
  • Leading with Noble Purpose: How to Create a Tribe of True Believers, by Lisa Earle McLeod

 

A conscious company isn’t the right fit for everyone. When we started the transformation at Envision, we had a fair amount of turnover as folks self-selected out of the somewhat uncomfortable and unfamiliar experiment that is transforming a company.

 

But every step of the journey has been worth taking. Absolutely no regrets. And if you choose to start, you won’t be going it alone. And if you authentically try, you’ll also grow as a person and may find a wholly new life of your own.