In today's volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, employees are looking for organizations that honor people, planet and profits, and leaders are looking for organizational frameworks that increase engagement, productivity and performance. The place where these groups intersect is evolving as a new landscape for how businesses of the future may operate and succeed. In this conversation, we speak with Michelle Maldonado, Associate Vice President of Corporate and Strategic Relationships for American Public University and the Co-Founder and Chair of the Northern Virginia Conscious Business Alliance, about the fundamental principles of Conscious Capitalism® and how they are shaping the modern workplace and the next generation of leaders, culture and community.

Q: What is Conscious Capitalism®?

Michelle: John Mackey, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market nicely captures the essence and framework of Conscious Capitalism by describing it as "a more complex form of capitalism that reflects and leverages the interdependent nature of life and all of the stakeholders in a business."

Q: What are the four principles of Conscious Capitalism, and what are some high performing organizations putting them into practice?

Michelle: There are four key principles of Conscious Capitalism that present a guiding framework for operating a healthy and sustainably successful organization. Today, numerous organizations are embracing Conscious Capitalism in some form – many of which we are familiar with. I'll share some of these with each of the principles below.

1. Higher Purpose
The first principle, Higher Purpose, ensures that your business reason goes beyond the singular purpose of profit. Ed Freeman, University of Virginia professor and originator of the Stakeholder Management Theory offers this helpful analogy: "We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is more than to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is more than simply to generate profits)." So, within the context of Conscious Capitalism, conscious businesses operate both for purpose and for profit. For examples of organizations that do this well, we can look to several industries, such as retail, hi-tech, Internet, and biotech including companies like Google and Genentech. There are also companies in traditional blue-collar sectors, like manufacturing, that successfully embody this first principle including Barry-Wehmiller (a global supplier of manufacturing technology) and Pantheon Enterprises (a green manufacturer of industrial chemicals), whose mission is to transform the industrial chemical industry by removing toxic chemicals from the environment. Pantheon Enterprises is known for its tagline "Conscious Chemistry."

2. Stakeholder Orientation
The second principle of Conscious Capitalism is Stakeholder Orientation. In contrast to organizations that operate solely to maximize a return on investment for their shareholders, conscious businesses focus on their whole business ecosystem. They create value for all of their stakeholders, understanding that engaged stakeholders lead to a sustainable business. To help understand the interconnectedness of an organization's stakeholder community, Rajendra Sisodia, co-author of the books Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, and Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose (Second Edition), explains its composition of stakeholders using the acronym, S.P.I.C.E., which stands for:


Businesses that align the interests of all stakeholder communities recognize that, without employees, customers, suppliers, investors, communities and a life-sustaining ecosystem, there is no business. This framework offers a "win-win-win" proposition where the natural outcome is a healthy return to shareholders. Organizations that are known for doing a stellar job with stakeholder alignment include The Container Store, Costco, and Whole Foods Market.

3. Conscious Leadership
Conscious Capitalism, Inc. describes a Conscious Leader as someone who, "understands that their role is to serve the purpose of the organization, to support the people within the organization and to create value for the all of the organization's stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate a Conscious Culture of trust and care."

Conscious Leaders are inspired within and are also able to motivate and influence others in a way that creates value and, ultimately, profit. In a recent white paper by Dr. Barrett Brown entitled, The Future of Leadership for Conscious Capitalism, Dr. Brown keenly observes that "there are already leaders who have achieved a level of development beyond the glass ceiling. Approximately five percent of leaders in the West operate with the mental and emotional capacity needed to manage complex, systemic change and reliably generate organizational transformation. They are at the leading edge of human development and represent the future of leadership . . . ."

Dr. Brown further acknowledges that Conscious Leaders understand that today's leadership development is dependent upon a combination of vertical and horizontal learning. Vertical learning includes mindsets based on deep connection, courageous action, vision, outlook and self-transformation. In contrast, horizontal learning is based on development of competencies and functional expertise. Both are necessary to be efficient and effective. Several modern day examples of Conscious Leaders include Meg Whitman (CEO of Hewlett-Packard), Tom Gardner (CEO of The Motley Fool), Tip Kindell (CEO of The Container Store), Anne-Marie Slaughter (CEO, New America Foundation), and Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIn).

4. Conscious Culture
To reference Rajendra Sisodia's work once again, we are provided another helpful acronym to describe the fourth principle, Conscious Cultures. These are organizational cultures that possess the following T.A.C.T.I.L.E. characteristics:


Conscious Capitalism, Inc. describes this kind of culture as one that "fosters love and care and builds trust between a company's team members and its stakeholders." When done correctly, the culture becomes the force that unifies the leaders' and stakeholders' communities as the living representation of the organization's higher purpose. Sample organizations include Zappos, Southwest Airlines, Luck Companies and Trader Joe's.

Q: Can you explain how the principles of Conscious Capitalism build upon one another?

Michelle: Yes, we must first start with a Higher Purpose so that everyone is aligned with the same "why." This helps inform how organizations will move forward with everything from strategy development and execution, hiring, training and development of its people, and treatment of stakeholders which, ultimately, create the elements of a strong culture foundation.

Next, leaders need to set the tone, model the behavior and "walk-the-talk" for how the organization not only competes, but thrives, in dynamic workplaces. It is in this way that Conscious Leaders further the "why" or Higher Purpose. After all, organizations are nothing more than communities of people striving toward a common goal or purpose. These leaders also hold the key to Stakeholder Orientation and set the bar high as to how their stakeholders will be viewed, treated, integrated and valued as part of the business. Once the Higher Purpose, Conscious Leadership and Stakeholder Orientation principles are embraced and woven into the fabric of people performance and behavior and organizational operations, the natural outcome is the fourth and final principle, a Conscious Culture.

Q: Does Conscious Capitalism really make a difference to a company's bottom-line?

Michelle: In the book Firms of Endearment, several publicly traded companies were studied that embody these qualities. The book concludes that when they compared these companies over a 15-year period, a majority of them outperformed the S&P 500 index, in terms of annual and cumulative returns (earnings per share), by a factor of 10.5. So, I would say that, yes, it has a positive impact on the bottom line.

Q: What resources you recommend to our readers to learn more about Conscious Capitalism?

Michelle: Here are a few resources that may be interesting to our readers:
Organization: Conscious Capitalism, Inc.
White paper: "The Future of Leadership for Conscious Capitalism" by Barrett C. Brown, Ph.D., Metaintegral Associates.
"Conscious Capitalism: Liberating The Heroic Spirit of Business," John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia.
"Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Purpose and Passion," Rajendra Sisodia, John Wolfe and Jagdeth Seth.
"Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives," Tip Kindell and Casey Shilling.
"Working For Good: Making A Difference While Making A Living," Jeff Klein.

About Michelle Maldonado
Michelle Maldonado is a former corporate attorney with 20 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, operations and partnership development across the Internet/technology, e-learning and online media industries. She currently serves as Associate Vice President of Corporate and Strategic Relationships for American Public University System (APUS) and is the creator and managing editor of
The Inspire Leadership Series. Michelle is also Co-Founder and Chair of the Northern Virginia Conscious Business Alliance. As a business leader, Michelle utilizes an authentic and consultative approach to partner with industry organizations to form strategic alliances that support overall institutional growth strategies and leverage key academic resources for talent development and engagement. Michelle can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



Published in Top Stories

Corona, CA January 28, 2015 - Elearning! Media Group, producers of the Enterprise Learning! Conference 2015 (ELC15), is pleased to announce its groundbreaking lineup of Keynote Speakers for the Enterprise Learning! Conference 2015. Colonel Ronald Dodge, West Point CIO and the Associate Dean for Information and Education Technology will speak about 'Next Generation Learning Environments and Cybersecurity.' ELC15 theme is Building Smarter Organizations with tracks dedicated to Next Generation Learning Environments, Learning Analytics & Big Data, The Internet of Things in Learning and the Learning! 100 Best Practices.

Dodge's keynote will take a light hearted look at finding the security teetering point between usability and protection of learning data and infrastructure in our environment. Ronald Dodge is an Associate Professor permanently stationed at the United States Military Academy where he serves as the West Point CIO and the Associate Dean for Information and Education Technology. Prior to this role, he was a senior research scientist and Director of the West Point Information Technology and Operations Center, where he led research into emerging technologies and grew cyber security awareness programs around the United States through innovative and pioneering use of virtualization, information assurance curriculum, and cyber security exercises. Ron is an active duty Colonel in the United States Army and has served over 27 years with military assignments ranging from combat duties in an attack helicopter squadron to faculty at the United States Military Academy.

"We are thrilled to have Colonel Dodge as one of our keynote speakers. He has such vast expertise on timely topics of next generation learning environments and cybersecurity," said Catherine Upton, ELC 2015 conference chair. "We seek experts that own the learning technology initiatives within their organizations and drive performance to the edge. COL Dodge has steered learning in the Defense Department, and now shares his expertise with the next generation of learners and virtualization practitioners. His knowledge and experience in this field is virtually unmatched, and our audience is guaranteed to take away ideas and information that they will be able to implement in their businesses and institutions immediately," concludes Upton.

Colonel Dodge's Keynote address will take place on Wednesday, June 10th at 9:30am at the Hylton Center for Performing Arts in Manassas, VA.

Who Should Attend
Enterprise Learning! Conference 2015 (ELC15) hosts the exclusive Learning & Workplace Technology Conference for corporate, government and higher education executives June 8-10, 2015. ELC15 also hosts the Innovations in E-learning Symposium, in partnership with the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) and George Mason University (GMU). At ELC15, attendees can learn from learning technology academia, share best practices from the top corporate university-Defense Acquisition University, and network with the top global learning organizations, the 2015 Learning! 100. Altogether, ELC15 provides executives a collegiate environment to network, share and learn from leaders across government, education and corporate enterprise.

ELC15 Partners
Defense Acquisition University
Defense Acquisition University is an award winning corporate university for the 150,000 members of the Defense Acquisition Workforce. DAU uses classroom and Web-based training and certification programs to keep all acquisition workforce members abreast with the latest trends, developments, resources, and information available for the acquisition community. While DAU faculty use a variety of proven teaching techniques to impart information to students, including both lecture and case-based curriculum, they are also on the forefront of innovative teaching techniques such as flipped classroom and distance-learning via Telepresence suites to reach remotely located workforce members while maintaining a low per-student cost. DAU faculty not only provide the certification training that qualified acquisition professionals need now, but continuously develop the body of acquisition knowledge to meet future learning requirements. Learn more at:

George Mason University
George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. Mason is setting the gold standard for the modern, public university. Its dynamic culture and innovative academic programs prepare Mason's hard-working students for 21st century careers. Its commitment to teaching excellence combines with cutting-edge research that enriches the academic experience and is literally changing the world. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia schools with the highest annual salaries. Learn more at:

Enterprise Learning! Events
Since 2008, Enterprise Learning! Events bring onsite and online audiences together to learn, network and share. Mark your calendar for Enterprise Learning! Conference on June 8-10, 2015 in Manassas, VA. CA. Enterprise Learning! Conference hosts Innovations in E-learning Symposium, the Best of Elearning! and Learning! 100 Awards. The Enterprise Learning! Summit virtual editions are slated for January 15, July 15, and November 4, 2015. For more information about the Enterprise Learning! Conference visit

Elearning! Media Group
Elearning! Media Group is owned by B2B Media Group LLC. Elearning! Media Group consists of eleven media products including: Elearning! Magazine, Government Elearning! E-Magazine, e-mail newsletters, Alerts, Websites, Web seminars, the Enterprise Learning! Summit and Enterprise Learning! Conference. Elearning! Media Group serves the $220 billion learning & workplace technology market. Suppliers and practitioners can follow us: online at; on Twitter: 2elearning or #ELSummit; via Facebook: Elearning!-Magazine or LinkedIn: Elearning! Magazine Network or Elearning! Summit.

Published in Latest News

Pauley, the British company that makes touch-screen software will fly drones over the upcoming Learning Technologies event in London.
Using a professional pilot to showcase the latest UAV equipment, Pauley hopes that the demonstration will encourage visitors and exhibitors to think "outside of the box" when it comes to the future of learning.

"Pauley is always keen to utilize new and emerging technologies for immersive learning experiences," says corporate director Phil Pauley. "The reality is that drones could be used to provide on-demand, real-time information for learning projects and resources.  "Detailed surveillance and the ability to provide staff with an aerial view are just a couple of the benefits of drone technology — ideal for staff training in the construction sector, for example. Drones could also help companies adhere to health and safety practices by monitoring contractors and visitors on site in real-time."

People are already talking about combining drones with the new wave of virtual reality technologies, such as the Oculus headset. Companies could create truly immersive and highly memorable training experiences in which footage from a drone could be streamed into the cockpit-like view of a VR headset. And now that the technology is being taken up more broadly, prices are dropping.

—More info: and

Published in Latest News

The third largest parking company in the United States and one of the 2014 Learning! 100, LAZ Parking operates more than 1,900 parking locations in 24 states. Its workforce is comprised of approximately 7,500 culturally diverse employees, most of whom are hourly workers.
Two years ago, the company's management team set out to address two business challenges:
• Increase employee engagement to reinforce the company's people-first philosophy and its overarching mission to create opportunities for employees and value for clients.
• Build a management pipeline capable of meeting the company's aggressive growth projections.
In this webinar presentation, attendees will learn how social learning, an emphasis on on-demand, mobile accessible content, and coaching for on-the-job application comprised a cost- and time-efficient learning strategy that had rapid impact.

Published in On-Demand

eLogic Learning has launched enhancements to its award-winning learning management system (LMS), including a special offer available to new clients. The offer, called eSSential Plus, includes more than 120 free, ready-to-use e-learning courses, a custom course designed by eLogic for the individual client, and access to Claro (a web-based content authoring software) at no additional charge.

eSSential Plus equips organizations with the content and technology to achieve their training goals. The included eLearning content solutions provide a number of benefits to both LMS administrators and learners. Administrators are saved the time, effort and cost of finding and purchasing e-learning content to train their workforce. Learners have access to proven, effective training that can be completed on their own schedule and applied directly to their jobs. In addition, managers can track the effectiveness of the training and determine its ROI using reports built into the eSSential LMS.

—More info:


Published in LMS & TMS

We've arrived at a turning point in history where new technology is profoundly changing our way of life as well as our methods of manufacturing, distributing, selling and consuming goods and services. The changes brought about by this digital revolution are disrupting the way businesses are organized and the way people work. They are creating a "new normal," which will be personalized, predictive and connected.

Published in Alerts

Illumiti, a systems integration and management consulting firm, has been authorized to resell the solutions SAP Cloud for HR and the SAP Cloud for Customer. SAP Cloud for HR includes solutions from SuccessFactors which are designed to help organizations of all sizes monitor employee performance, enhance human resources communication and improve collaboration. SAP Cloud for Customer is a business software solution that enables marketing, sales and customer service teams to better collaborate and gain customer insights in order to provide more personalized engagement with customers and prospects.

Published in Deals

Presbyterian Medical Services (PMS) will transition its employee training and compliance programs to Elogic Learning’s eSSential learning management system (LMS). The eSSential LMS gives administrators the ability to assign required training and track compliance via a cloud-based platform easily accessible from any device. PMS was in need of a new system to automate many of the tasks that go along with maintaining regulatory compliance, such as notifying employees when a course or certification is due.

Published in Deals

Qumas an Accelrys, Inc. company, and Netdimensions will partner to market an innovative solution that brings the best-in-class learning management capabilities of NetDimensions Learning to the Qumas Compliance Platform. This new integrated solution enables organizations to control all of their compliance management and all of their training requirements using a single platform.

Published in Deals

The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) generally denotes an advanced level of networked connectivity between objects, platforms, systems and ser- vices that enables the exchange of data without human intervention. The premise behind the IoT is that any object, whether natural or manufactured, can gain the ability to transmit data over a network.

>>  International Data Corporation predicts the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020.

>>  MarketsandMarkets gives the IoT market a more conservative — but still lofty — valuation of $1.029 trillion in 2013, increasing to $1.423 trillion by 2020.

>>  Gartner forecasts 26 billion connected objects worldwide by 2020 (a figure that does not include PCs, smartphones and tablets).

>>  IDate projects 80 billion Internet-connected things in 2020, up from 15 billion in 2012. This figure does include PCs, TVs and smart devices, but the vast majority (85%) will be objects like car tires or shipping pallets that may communicate with the Web via an intermediate device. Devices that communicate directly, such as PCs, TVs and mobile phones, will make up 11% of the total in 2020.

>>  Cisco Systems predicts 50 billion things will be connected by 2022, yielding $19 trillion in new revenues ($14.4 trillion of which will ac- crue to private-sector corporations).


Published in Trends
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