CCOB dean shows students why he’s sold on Conscious Capitalism
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Over the course of the last two years, the Colangelo College of Business Dean’s Speaker Series frequently has given Grand Canyon University students insights from business leaders in the Valley and around the country.
But there was one person who hadn’t gotten his chance to share his ideas about CCOB’s Conscious Capitalism focus.
The dean himself.
So Dr. Randy Gibb decided it was time this week to address master’s students on what capitalism means to him and why he’s so passionate about it.
“Capitalism is a glorious thing if it’s done right,” he told them.
In a talk Gibb titled, “Conscious Capitalism: Purpose and Servant Leadership,” he showed how capitalism has affected the world, especially in the last 250 years. He displayed a graph that showed how the number of people living on $1.25 a day was close to 100 percent for centuries but now is much closer to zero and noted that extreme poverty could be eliminated in 30 years if this trend continues.
“Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other force in history, and it has done so through voluntary exchange,” he said, citing Conscious Capitalism, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating the theory and practice of Conscious Capitalism.
Capitalism is “inherently good,” Gibb said, citing Conscious Capitalism, because it creates value, adding that it is ethical, noble and heroic.
Gibb was quick to note that capitalism has come under fire in recent years and shared a Harvard Institute of Politics survey in which only 19 percent of millennials identified themselves as capitalists and just 42 percent said they supported capitalism.
That’s where Conscious Capitalism comes in. Gibb has made the book by Raj Sisodia, one of the presenters during the Dean’s Speaker Series, and John Mackey a cornerstone of the program.
“It’s nothing new,” Gibb said. “It is just good business; however the positive message for the free-market system needs to be told, a new narrative is required.””
In pointing out that “it matters how you make the money,” Gibb cited Proverbs 20:17 (“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel”). People are more aware these days, he said. As a result, many are passionate about doing business with the greater good in mind.
“Do you roll out of bed just to make money?” he asked the students. “No. You roll out of bed because you are motivated to do something for somebody for a higher purpose.”
Many companies are employing elements of Conscious Capitalism, most notably Southwest Airlines, which has thrived by focusing on employees first, customers second and shareholders third.
Gibb emphasized that creating the new dynamic wasn’t easy.
“Some people interpret Conscious Capitalism as soft,” he said, citing former Medtronic CEO Bill George. “It’s not soft at all. It is tough; you have to perform as a business and for a purpose.”
And it’s a world these same students will be doing business in before too long. Gibb has introduced dozens of speakers during his two years at GCU but decided it was time students heard from him, too.
“We want our graduates from the Colangelo College of Business to be successful in society and to conduct business the right way in regards to purpose and servant leadership,” he said.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.