Social, Spiritual, and Economic Capital with special guest Pete Ochs

Pete Ochs is founder and chairman of Capital III, an impact investment company with investments in the US and Central America.  Enterprise Stewardship is an initiative of Capital III that equips marketplace leaders with resources to transform their personal LIFE and business enterprises. During his four decades in business he has invested and operated companies in the energy, manufacturing, banking, and education sectors, oftentimes focusing on places devoid of human flourishing such as prisons and poverty-stricken countries. Pete’s passion in life is to educate, equip, and empower business leaders around the world to live for something greater than themselves by using their business platform to impact the world for Christ.

Insights & Inspirations

  • And it boils down to this: people think that the purpose of business, the traditional reason or purpose for business is to maximize shareholder value. Milton Friedman won a Nobel Prize on that very statement. I believe that’s not bad, but I believe as Christians, there is much more than just maximizing shareholder value. – Pete Ochs
  • I believe business should be what I call a catalyst for flourishing. And if you’re going to flourish, you really need three things. And these three things are talked about in Genesis 2:15-18. It’s after God created Adam but before the fall. And it says, verse 15, “God put man in the garden to work.” And guess what’s going to happen if you work? You’re going to have material provision. That’s the first thing we all need for flourishing. The second thing, verse 18, “Not good to be alone.” You need a helpmate. Second thing we need is deep, authentic relationships. And thirdly, in verse 16 and 17, it says, “By the way, don’t eat of the fruit of that tree over there, because then you’ll know the difference between good and evil. You’ll become like God, as it were.” That’s the first time God gave his commandment. He gave us a moral code to operate in. Now as Christians, well, we know there are two really key things, and that one is faith in this guy Jesus, and the second is living according to God’s word. So the three things you need, to be really short and blunt, you need money, you need friends, you need Jesus. – Pete Ochs
  • So as a business guy and talking to business people, we couch those in business terms. We call material provision economic capital, we call relationships social capital, and we call a relationship with Jesus spiritual capital. So the purpose of our business, which happens to be called Capital III, is to create economic, social and spiritual capital to be a catalyst for flourishing. – Pete Ochs
  • We view these as not mutually exclusive. If you’re going to flourish, you have to have enough of each one of them. You have to be profitable, you have to have great relationships, you have to operate your business according to a moral code. The spiritual capital’s probably the most important because it gives you the rules. It lays down the rules and the guidelines as to how to create economic and social capital. – Pete Ochs
  • God out of society, you create a morality vacuum that has to get filled with something. And typically what happens is G-O-D gets replaced with G-O-V, government: more rules, more regulations, and consequently, you lose freedom.- Pete Ochs
  •  The success we believe we’ve had in business and helping other companies and communities is taking Biblical principles and putting them to play in business. It’s not a new truth, it’s old truth.  – John Marsh
  •  I think what a lot of Christian businesspeople do, is we bifurcate our lives: business Monday through Saturday, Christianity Sunday. But they should be one and the same. Our purpose should be to honor God, our passion should be service, excellence and stewardship, and that results in a platform that really creates economic, social and spiritual capital.- John Marsh
  •  the good Samaritan, that’d come down the road. He didn’t avoid him. He went over, he picked him up, he took him to the hotel, he bought him a meal, and he bought him some time and whatever else. You see, the good Samaritan led with economic capital. He followed with social capital. And guess what happened to the doors of spiritual capital? They probably flew open. – Pete Ochs
  • And one of my lunches, I said, “I’m going to cast a big vision for these guys,” and the vision was this: we’re going to have the best prison in the United States of America. There were about 30 or 40 guys out there at that point in time, and they literally started laughing out loud at me. They laughed me off the stage, as it were. And I said, “Wait a minute, guys. The way we can have the best prison in the United States, if you become the best inmates in the United States. My promise to you is that I’m here to help you become all that God wants you to become, and to become the best inmate you can become, and we will have the best prison.”- Pete Ochs
  • Man, meaningful work, God had something woven up in meaningful work for us that is so much a part of who he is and what he cares about. – John Marsh
  • So, there are really three components to be a successful business, we believe. … Number one is, why am I in business? Number two is, who am I serving? Number three is, how am I serving? That’s the operational piece of your business.”- Pete Ochs
  • We have this rule. We measure economic capital by the net operating income, by the bottom line of the business. There’s no better way to do that. So we measure economic capital by looking at net operating income. We measure the output of all of our efforts. Socially and spiritually, it’s difficult to measure outputs, but it’s easy to measure inputs. So if you want to create social and spiritual capital, what are things you do? You have Bible studies, you encourage people, you have lunches, you have vision talks, you send people on mission trips, you love them like you love yourself, you have the best benefits, you have the best healthcare, you have chaplains in your business. We have fun days.- Pete Ochs
  • “If you’re not excited and learning and being encouraged, it’s not working. Let’s keep pivoting. If you don’t like reading books, let’s listen to them. If you like watching videos or doing this, let’s find a way to get you growing, because the happiest people are growing people.” – John Marsh
  • You can’t have a transformed company without transformed leadership.- Pete Ochs
  • towns, but also for companies: it’s like a wheelbarrow, somebody’s got to push it. We need a champion of what’s happening in the company.  – John Marsh
  • One of my mentors always said, “John, you remember that little Pogo cartoon?” He said one time he stood in the mirror and he said, “I have seen the enemy, and it is me.”  – John Marsh

Information & Links

Closing Questions

What have you read that we should read?

Who do you know that we should know?

Where have you been that we should go?

  • A maximum security prison.