Look for synergies and you will find them

John Mackey's Conscious Capitalism conference/conclave was a magical event last week in Austin. 

For three days, about one hundred likeminded souls gathered to present, listen and interact around the theme of business as agent of common good.  There were so many great ideas, I'll likely be reporting on them for months.  

One of the key takeaways came from John Mackey's closing remarks at the event.  He explained that supporting local development, for example, can have high costs/risks or create incredible synergies.  If you are looking for high costs or downside, you'll find them, he said.  

However, if you are looking for synergies and mid to long term payoffs, you'll find them too.  So look for them, he explained.  Wow.  He's right.  This whole issue (measuring the biz ROI of conscious capitalism) wheels around the company's VALUES.  

What do I mean?  In my new book, I define values as "the criteria by which we allocate resources."  If you value contribution, you'll allocate resources to find synergy — even if it is hidden below the surface of easy facts.  If you value covering-your-behind, you'll dispatch resources to estimate costs, budget, potential negative reactions, etc.  You won't likely do both.  

So look for synergies, yet be realistic about costs.  Look for low cost (think time, effort, advice) opps and spend some time imagining how helping others will help the company in the long term.