Ayn Rand was wrong. The form of shareholder capitalism that businesses have been practicing for years and that many business leaders have been taught is not only misguided, it’s badly misaligned with what we know of human nature. It’s even contrary to objective reality. While we spend nearly a third of our waking lives at work, many of us feel dissatisfied and disengaged in our jobs. Or worse, we’re sleepwalking, doing only what we must to collect a paycheck. Wouldn’t it be great to come to work excited to make a contribution and go home feeling fulfilled?
In this groundbreaking book, Gavin Watson explores the principles of Conscious Capitalism, based on two decades of research in the fields of positive psychology, organizational psychology, and evolutionary biology. Conscious Capitalism rejects the toxic myth of neoliberal economics. In fact, a group of collaborative individuals will out-perform a group of selfish individuals every time. It is not selfishness but cooperative, generous, and altruistic behavior that is the basis of our success as a species, and the key to a high-performing business.
Watson shows how the four principles of Conscious Capitalism create a culture of trust and caring that in turn leads to higher engagement and productivity. Conscious businesses maximize autonomy, foster intrinsically rewarding work, and encourage individuality and flexible leadership. We flourish when we bring our whole selves to work, and so do our companies.
Before joining his family’s food manufacturing business, Gavin earned a BA in religious studies with a minor in psychology from Fairfield University. He then built a 30-foot wooden sailboat, which he lived on while starting a boat building and repair business. After joining Watson Inc. as a maintenance mechanic, he moved up through engineering and eventually became vice president of operations and company chair. Gavin focused on employee engagement through a self-organizing self-directed team approach. As a food manufacturer, Gavin has designed state-of-the-art edible film manufacturing equipment- and improved upon the designs of milling, blending, and fluid bed equipment.
Passionate about saving our planet’s ecosystem at work and at home, he began purchasing 100% renewable electricity in 2010. He also mentored and encouraged teams running energy audits and implementing improvements that reduced electrical consumption by 25 percent while also growing the business at the same time.
In the 1990s, Gavin converted a Porsche 914 to an electric car and, later in the early 2000s, converted two diesel-powered cars to run on vegetable oil. For one of these, Gavin won most efficient biofuel vehicle and most environmentally friendly biofuel vehicle at the NESEA 2006 Tour de Sol.
He minimized hierarchy through self-organized, open space-style human operating systems in his organization. In 2019, his company sold for $89 million. Gavin is now chair of the Connecticut Chapter of Conscious Capitalism and is still a boat builder and a sailor. He just completed building a 19-foot double-ended yawl for cruising the Maine coast.
Connect with the author and get his most recent updates on his website: GavinWatsonAssociates.com.Learn More
Gavin Watson took over his family company, and set about boldly putting people at the core of his lean and agile business rejuvenation. By giving his loyal workers agency, autonomy and empowerment, he was able to harness their collective intelligence and group altruism to power his business to even greater success. Today, Gavin is at the forefront of a new breed of conscious capitalists applying Prosocial principles to overturn conventional business paradigms. This amazing book encapsulates his journey and is a must-read for every business CEO.
—Dr. Exmond E DeCruz, CEO, Peakintelli Group
Gavin Watson was such a motivating leader, Trusted and believed in everyone who had the desire to work. My experience working with Gavin was phenomenal. He saw potential in me and gave me the opportunity to grow within his company. I would not hesitate to work for such a great leader like Gavin Watson.
This is a great read for anyone who believes that as company leaders we can do better. Gavin helps the reader to lift up all base business assumptions and question their validity. He provides the opportunity to rethink the business model and to change it for the better based of solid principles and reasoning. Collaborative businesses outperform combative businesses. Buckets of business leadership wisdom provided in a practical manner.
—Paul Murphy, Founder, Conscious Power Solutions