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良心资本主义还有市场吗?只要能调整策略

优秀的商业领导会不断地评估周围的环境,并进行相应的调整。良心资本家亦会如此。

位于新泽西州泰特波罗的Panera Bread烘培店。Michael Brochstein—SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

策略的变化是否意味着失败?

当然不是。

通常,这意味着成功的公式已经发生变化;竞争格局已然升级;公司需要获取新的技能并寻找新的发展方向。

优秀的商业领导会不断地评估周围的环境,并进行相应的调整。良心资本家亦会如此。通过商业推动人道主义事业进程的案例比比皆是,但实现这一目标的方法必须随着时间的推移而改变,并紧随资本主义市场变化的步伐。

有人将全食超市的利润下降或星巴克股价毫无起色作为良心资本主义难以在市场上独善其身的证据,上述这一点便证明了他们其实是大错特错。

没有人能否认,全食超市长达数十年的成功让百货业发生了翻天覆地的变化,同时也增强了人们对环保和食品问题的意识。星巴克依然采用的是前首席执行官霍华德·舒尔茨所创建的模式,虽然它总是在一些社会问题上主动发表自己的见解,例如枪支控制、种族歧视等问题,但依然是咖啡行业的领军企业。如果我们作为人类,希望为所有人创造更加美好的生活,那么企业是否有意愿去满足其客户和社会更广泛的需求则显得至关重要。

那么到底什么才能算是良心资本主义?它是一种从人类当前所处发展阶段的角度出发,来思考资本主义和商业的一种方式。它考虑了当今这个世界的状况,并意识到商业与生俱来的潜力——及其驾驭智力、财务和人力资源的能力,从而为世界带来积极的影响。

良心资本主义家在经营公司时有着更高的目标追求。他们意识到,如果创造一个所有利益相关方共赢的局面,包括客户、雇员、供应商和所在社区,那么他们为股东创造利益的可能性就更大。

毫无疑问,我创建的公司Panera就是这样一个例子。在近30年之中,Panera已经成为了拥有近2300家店面、12万名加盟商的烘培店,其销售额达60亿美元。Panera的成功归功于:公司长期以来利用价值观来打造一家有价值的公司。其目标一直都是成为一家讲诚信、令加盟商感到自豪、为客户和团队成员的生活带来积极影响的公司。我们始终认为,我们对自身所在的这个世界照顾的越多,那么我们也就会获得更大的商业成功。

尽管Panera为世界带来积极影响的目标从未动摇过,但这些年来我们实现这一目标的方式并非是一成不变的。我们必须围绕如何分配公司的精力和资源做出明智的决定。有些时候,我们的资金筹资人会资助学校和当地团体,有时候会赞助癌症研究。与此同时,我们一直在关注食品安全问题,而且每年向3500多家非盈利机构和收容所捐赠1亿美元的食物。

为了支持这一共同的目标,我们将提升公司对客户和潜在加盟商的吸引力。但需要强调的是,我们在开展这些举措之前都会认真权衡,尤其是那些有争议的举措。

令我们感到高兴的是,越来越多的公司都在效仿这一做法,以良心资本家的姿态来解决重大社会问题,而且一旦他们发现更好的行事方式时,他们便会调整其方法。在两名黑人于星巴克费城店遭到逮捕之后,星巴克暂停了其业务经营,并对所有的员工进行反种族歧视培训。这个培训完美无瑕吗?不是。能够解决社会上所有的种族问题吗?不能。星巴克所迈出的这一步是正确的吗?是的。

更多的企业应该进行类似的自我反思,并在应对棘手问题方面发挥引领作用。Dick’s Sporting Goods和沃尔玛最近对枪支管制的立场,以及CVS在数年前下架所有烟草产品的决定便是良心资本主义的显著进步。

对于那些尝试解决无人愿碰的棘手社会问题的企业,我们应大加赞扬。我们还应称赞那些按照时代和问题的变化而调整其策略的企业。这并不是失败,而是良心资本主义——即有着良好的商业头脑,并怀揣着更高的目标追求。(财富中文网)

亚历山大·迈可宾是Conscious Capitalism公司的首席执行官。让·沙伊克是Panera Bread的创始人兼董事长,也是Act III Holdings的执行合伙人。

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

Does a change in strategy signify failure?

Of course not.

Usually, it means the equation for success has shifted; that the competitive landscape has evolved; that new skill sets and a new direction are needed.

Good business leaders constantly evaluate what is happening around them and adjust accordingly. The same is true of conscious capitalists. The goal of elevating humanity through business is ever-present, but the means of achieving that goal must change over time as the capitalist marketplace evolves.

That’s why those who point to Whole Foods’ decreasing profits or the flattening in Starbucks’ stock price as evidence that conscious capitalism can’t hold its own against market forces are plain wrong.

No one can deny that Whole Foods’ decades-long success reinvented the grocery business while raising awareness of environmental and food issues. And Starbucks, in a tradition begun by former CEO Howard Schultz, remains a leader in the coffee category despite repeatedly putting a stake in the ground on social issues ranging from gun control to race relations. The willingness of businesses to address the broader needs of their customers and society is crucial if we, as human beings, want to realize a better world for us all.

So what exactly is conscious capitalism? It’s a way of thinking about capitalism and business that reflects where we are in the human journey. It considers the state of our world today and recognizes the innate potential of business—with its ability to harness intellectual, financial, and human resources—to make a positive impact on the world.

Conscious capitalists run their businesses with a higher purpose in mind. They recognize that in seeking winning solutions for all stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, and the communities where they operate—they are also more likely to benefit shareholders.

That has certainly been the case at the company I founded, Panera. In nearly three decades, Panera has grown to nearly 2,300 bakery-cafes, 120,000 associates, and sales of $6 billion. Panera’s success came from a long-term commitment to building a company of value with values. The goal has always been to create a company of integrity, one associates were proud to be part of and one that made a difference in the lives of its guests and team members. We’ve always recognized that the more we give of ourselves in taking care of the world around us, the more we give to ourselves in terms of business success.

But while Panera’s goal of making a difference has remained steadfast, the ways we’ve accomplished this have changed through the years. We’ve had to make conscious decisions about where to direct our energy and resources. Sometimes our fundraisers benefit schools and local groups, other times breast cancer research. Meanwhile, we are always focused on food insecurity and give $100 million in food donations annually to more than 3,500 nonprofits and homeless shelters.

In fueling our collective purpose, we increase our appeal to customers and potential associates. But make no mistake, these actions are carefully weighed before they are taken—especially when they are controversial.

We’re happy to see that more companies are following a similar path, waving the conscious capitalist flag in addressing weighty social issues. And they’re evolving their approach as they see ways they can do better. After an incident in which two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store, Starbucks paused its business operations and had all of its employees go through racial bias training. Was the training perfect? No. Was it the end to all racial problems in society? No. But was it a step in the right direction? Yes.

More businesses should be similarly self-reflective and take a leadership role in tackling tough issues. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart’s recent stances on gun control and CVS’s decision a few years back to forgo selling all tobacco products are notable evolutions of conscious capitalism.

Businesses should be applauded for attempting to tackle thorny social issues no one else will. They should also be applauded for evolving their strategies as times and issues change. That’s not failure; it’s conscious capitalism—good business sense with a higher purpose in mind.

Alexander McCobin is the chief executive of Conscious Capitalism. Ron Shaich is the founder and chairman of Panera Bread and managing partner of Act III Holdings.

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