The Story of Us — Reflections from Doug Rauch, Former President, Trader Joe’s

by / ⠀Startup Advice / April 15, 2013

Doug Rauch“The bottom line allows you to see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going.” 

– Doug Rauch
Business and capitalism have a lousy reputation. Public trust in business and business leaders is at an all-time low. This mistrust is based in part on the perceived negative effect many industries and large businesses have had on every aspect of our lives, and on the influence they wield over our elected representatives and government agencies.The prevailing story of business is a story of “me” — that business leaders and their businesses are like cancers with endless appetites, growing for the sake of growth without regard for the unintended consequences of their growth or for the greater good. But business is and has always been much more than that. This other side of business is beginning to rise up and take explicit form through the Conscious Capitalism movement. Doug Rauch, former, long-time President of Trader Joe’s and current CEO of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. — an organization designed to foster learning and community around the theory and practice of Conscious Capitalism — illuminates this emerging paradigm.

“At heart, Conscious Capitalism is a recognition that we are interconnected and interrelated. That business at its core is a story of ‘us.’ It is impossible to imagine a successful business that doesn’t have a customer, and in most cases, employees and vendors. By definition, it would be like trying to define a successful relationship of one person.

Business at heart is a story of ‘us,’ of relationship, and when that story of ‘us’ is based on creating value for every stakeholder, for every person touched by the business, then it is truly successful and sustainable.”

This approach that Doug articulates is not an abstract philosophy, but a practical approach to orienting and operating a business, which generates great results for all involved.

“Conscious Capitalism integrates an awareness that we have to consider not just short-term immediate gain but a longer term benefit. In practice, Conscious Capitalism is about making sure that your actions are aligned with your purpose, and coming from a recognition of just ‘us’ instead of ‘me.’

It’s an orientation that doesn’t look at trade-offs but it looks for trade-ups – opportunities to create value for all. When your employee is fired up they fire up your customers. When you treat your suppliers as partners, they go the extra mile for you when you need it. When you treat the communities you do business in with respect, they embrace you and your business. A virtuous circle emerges out these consistent, systematic acts of care and consideration, that serves you, your business and everyone else.”

© 2013 Jeff Klein, author of It’s Just Good Business: The Emergence of Conscious Capitalism & the Practice of Working for Good

See also  How to Stay Motivated After a Startup Failure

Jeff Klein authored the newly released book It’s Just Good Business: The Emergence of Conscious Capitalism & the Practice of Working for Good – a concise introduction to Conscious Capitalism designed to be read in under 30 minutes.He is a trustee and executive team member of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and producer of Conscious Capitalism 2013 and the 2013 Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit. He authored the award-winning book Working for Good : Making a Difference While Making a Living, and hosts a weekly radio program called It’s Just Good Business™ on en*theos radio.

For more information please visit and, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Image Credit: Boston Globe

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.