Uncontainable Conscious Capitalism

laelene Post in general blog, reviews

I just read the book Uncontainable by Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, and found it to be a delightful read – or “yummy” as he would say. I had no idea that TCS was such a strong brand with an admirable corporate culture. After learning more, I wonder why I didn’t hear about their values sooner. With an employees-first view, they’ve made a successful business that thrives from the love they pour into their people. They don’t see business as a zero-sum game and believe that everyone can win. Yes, that means the business, its employees, its customers, and its stakeholders.

Most businesses do not operate that way, and it’s a pity. What TCS and other strong brands like Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines, and Panera Bread have done is what they termed Conscious Capitalism. They operate in a way that serves a higher purpose beyond profit and they do so by adhering to values that inspire better work (and thus leads to greater profitability). I like this idea, that making a profit is not a bad thing – money is not a bad thing. But that doesn’t mean we should be cutthroat and see everyone else’s wins as our losses. Quite the contrary: you can position yourself to be more successful by thinking of others and taking a more wholistic approach.

I absolutely believe this is a better way to do business, much like the triple bottom line idea of people, planet, and profit. These philosophies share the basic tenet that serving one’s interest can benefit others and doesn’t need to harm them. I really enjoyed reading about a success story that illustrates good business practices, particularly treating employees well. (Side note, I don’t like the term employee and team member seems too clunky. Any alternate suggestions?)

What I also enjoyed was how I felt like I could see Kip’s personality in his words. Some parts got repetitive when he shared the same idea again, but it felt like he had deep conviction and the tone was so accessible. I like his style and honesty. There are certainly some things I would do differently based on my own values, but they are nonetheless spades better than most any other company out there. I do hope his vision of a future where Conscious Capitalism is the normal way of business becomes a reality. I’ll certainly do my part.

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