As we celebrate President’s Day under a new leader, I reflected on the “unprecedented” year that was 2020. While the challenges of taming the virus, reinvigorating our economy, and restoring faith in democracy remain, from my view as a conscious venture capitalist, I am inspired by the resilience of entrepreneurs everywhere.
Through all the curve balls of 2020, they have risen to the challenge to constantly evolve, adapt and respond to new information. The past year has underscored the importance of a continuous learning mindset – a trait prized in Silicon Valley. As Adam Grant puts it, “thinking again” or the ability to examine and re-examine one’s own decisions, will allow leaders – and their organizations – to thrive.
In addition to mental flexibility, there’s one other quality that post-2020 leaders across industries, including startups and VC, will need more than ever: empathy. They need to care about their employees, their customers, and most importantly, about the broader impact of their work.
When you combine empathy with a mindset of continuous learning, you get conscious leadership. It’s prioritizing “we” over “me.” It’s showing vulnerability and humility through your decisions and actions. And it is especially giving voice to others – a movement we have called the Rise of the Individual. We see this with our entrepreneurs all the time, with Poshmark’s community-first approach as the latest example of a company being true to its values from Day One.
Conscious leadership comes down to being people first, in everything you do. And as a People First firm, we want to live up to that promise. We’ve been investing in entrepreneurs who change the world in which we live, work and play since 1969, and are guided by our own Rules of the Road. Our 51st year forced us to reconsider our perspective, the way we work, and how we operate in the world. So we’re making it our goal in 2021 and beyond to continue evangelizing Conscious Capital through conversations with leaders, through investing in entrepreneurs who accelerate human and planetary evolution, and through giving back to our community through philanthropic work. We also plan to think flexibly – keeping an open mind, learning and re-imagining with empathy – as we navigate continuing “unprecedented” times.