Ingredients to build a Conscious Business

By December 28, 2015 Thoughts No Comments

We’ve been talking about the 8 recipes it takes to build a meal plan for our company, Stretch Recipes.  So far, we’ve discussed what it takes to build CompassionGratefulness; LovingTeam WorkResilence; and being Impactful.  With only two remaining, our next pick is Conscious.   The chief question that needs to be asked of every company, Is my Give a Shit meter on?  Not is it turned up when certain words hit my ear… is it on?  

When I first started business school, my sole intention was to come out fully independent, and to be the boss of my life and my destiny.  But a funny thing happened during that time, when I came out, my sole intention was to be the change I wanted to see in the world.  My dreams of simply making a ton of money had gone to the wayside.  I came out 1000 times happier than when I went in.  Yes, I was equipped with some awesome knowledge and tools for empowerment for myself, but the thing I left with that mattered most was the overwhelming since of being able to build a life with meaning and a business with purpose.

As I build Stretch Recipes, I think very deeply about any potential negative impacts that I foresee with what we do.  I place fail safes in and actively problem solve and change when I see it is impacting or hurting the planet, the company, or people.  This is the act of being conscious and if a corporation is going to be treated as a human being, then it deserves the opportunity to have these qualities and it should be mandated to have a level of awareness.

I’ve talked a bit about this in the past with the Burger effect.  Passionately upset about the idea that a company would knowingly feed customers food that will kill them to achieve a price point is unconscionable.  I do not wish to live in a way that forces me into a point where I have to pay employees less than fair and provide subpar products and service to close a sale.  Therefore, my company will not either.  If a premium is attached, our Customers will know exactly why and if we do not sell or successfully scale a product, our employees will know exactly why.

With that said, here are the Top 5 Ingredients for Building a Conscious Business:  

1)  Gumption – Bet you haven’t heard that word in a long time.  But it’s under used, Women don’t have “balls”, we have gumption. And seeing as we are a company led by a woman, we’d prefer this inclusive term that can be applied to men as well.   The main ingredient for building a Conscious business is the spirited initiative and resourcefulness to do it.  Put your foot down on it and call it like you see it!   When you do this, you make it quite easy, routine, and expected to stand up for yourself and others, to know which battles are worth fighting, and how to change internally to make life better.  Be bold enough to find ways to say No in times when it’s hard to.  Be imaginative enough to see around the box to ways to change it so that maybe the box can carry more or less.  When you have gumption, no one is surprised when you go against the status quo when you have identified a problem in a system or systems.  Just make sure when you do so, you are ready to create a solution that is sustainable or evolutionary.  Stretch Recipes will not come to the table without being ready to make a deal & solve problems.  Our time and energy is precious & those we serve time and energy is precious.

2)  The ability to recognize and make decisions on Necessary Evils – Have you ever been in the car with someone who didn’t wear a seat belt?  It is by far the most annoying thing to me.  I actually make it a point to never ride with them again.  To them, a seatbelt should be a necessary evil.  Have you been watching the Presidential coverage?  What if the election comes down to Trump vs. _____?   We all know ____ will win because it’s the lesser of the necessary evils.   I’m sorry to all the Trump supporters who were offended by this.  #NotSorry.   Let’s say that you know the world only has a 10 year food supply remaining because we were killing off the bees and the birds.  But in 10 years, all the food in the world will be gone.  You know the world is currently in drought and if you use the remaining water supply to water the crops, you can increase the food supply to last 30 years, buying us all time to get to Mars.   But, if you use the remaining water supply, you will loose 1 billion lives or 1/10th of the people on the planet?  There are necessary evils in this world.  Being awake to recognize them is important, but also having the gumption to creatively fix it is equally as important.   We do our best to build this company and make decisions based on what’s best for the long-term; we solve and move forward in a way to remove decisions that result in necessary evils, but being conscious also means you recognize them and why they exist in the first place.  There are no ways to make better solutions without understanding why past decisions and current decisions are being made.

3)  Charitable – We aim to be charitable to the causes that are never ending and truly unsolvable or alleviation to create sustainable solutions.  But charity extends beyond the IRS tax code.  It’s how you practice and serve on a day to day.  With a corporation, your charity is the impact and difference you make in the lives of your customers.  For us, this means, how do we form our company where it is more than a business transaction, but directly benefits those in need of assistance.  One thing we do, is identify the gaps to create products and services never before thought of because many of the people making the decisions live above the median income and do not live in situations where they may have to live paycheck to paycheck.

One example of this comes in the form of someone we care about. Right now a person we know that works at a place we frequent for lunch and conversation had been in a horrible bicycle accident on Christmas Eve.  A good person that was in a wreck that we would like to see get back on his feet with less of a financial blow.  Jesse Cates is one of the reasons I have been able to re-think the directions we will take in 2016 and I value his honest opinion.  The kid’s got gumption and a great heart.  He loves his job and the team he works with.  So I’m taking a moment to ask everyone to donate to his Go Fund Me.    Jesse’s not a non-profit, he’s not being assisted by one, he’s a person that works hard to take care of himself and he works in the Service industry.  He literally cleans up our shit and smiles.  There’s no doubt that when he recovers he’s going straight back to work. And what most of us don’t think about is the fact that 2 weeks without pay can be devastating to someone; compound that with medical bills, he was moving at the end of this month, and the fact that charities and government assistance are not extended to people who earn beyond $25k per year.   Also keep in mind, the average rent is $1,400 in Austin.  When you do the math, these medical bills will not pay themselves and it will take him a very long time to dig out.  So let’s give Jesse a hand during this unexpected time.  DONATE

4)  Choosing your battles wisely – We have just realized that we can not help everyone… all at once.  (baby steps! Climbing the mountain one rock at a time)  We have also realized that some battles are not worth the fight because they are fruitless.  Choosing your battles wisely channels and/or refocuses your energy into the things that you can control.  If you are too busy trying to change peoples hearts or minds, you are wasting your time.  Focussing on what is in your power to change or control is the best thing that can be done at all times.  Some obstacles need to be removed, others you can go around, but very very few that actually matter require you to stand your ground.   Being conscious is the ability to recognize when these battles are detrimental to the business, community, and planet.  It’s also being able to recognize when they are distractions keeping you from succeeding.  We will stand up and fight when it goes against our values, we have a commitment to diversity of sex, culture, race, religion, and thought.  But the way we choose to stand is by example.  There is no need to tear down or throw rocks, but simply by being the change we wish to see in the world, we have not expended any energy outside of being who we are.

5)  Think before you speak; but when we don’t own up to it – Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid. Personally, I spend a lot of time practicing this, but even I fall short.  Many people get annoyed in conversation with me because I am very careful and slow to share my thoughts.  I wasn’t always this way, but when I found out just how much words can impact a persons life, I slowed everything down.  A lot of times, my only solace was when talking business with someone who already knows my heart.  I could say it short and to the point and they would not get offended.  So it often comes across as an outburst or mean when I say exactly what’s on my mind.  A funny thing happens, people close themselves off and feel as if they’ve been attacked.  Therefore, I take my time to explain everything as kind as I can in addition to true, necessary, and helpful.  I want the company to do the same.  We want to speak to people, the community, and our customers in the way you speak to your loved ones, because we do love them.  We want to do this so that we can open and create avenues of meaningful dialogue to advance progress.   When we fall short, if we see we have rubbed someone the wrong way, we own up to what we have said.  As Maya Angelou says, “….people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   Being conscious of the way we speak is being conscious of the way the people we serve feel and to ourselves.  We speak life into this company and we speak life into the people we serve.  


What do you think it takes to build a conscious business?  Tweet us @StretchRecipes  & Please be sure to vote for us to win the Amber Grant!  Only 3 more days remaining!!!


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