I am a management consultant who has always tried to do ‘what is right’ rather than what is conventionally accepted and I treat people as I would want to be treated myself rather than as corporate entities. The moment I became aware of the Conscious Business concept, I immediately identified with it and wherever possible, incorporate it into my offering.
This is what Conscious Business means to me today. I am looking forward to better developing the meaning, understanding and application on the journey ahead.
A Conscious Business enshrines a series of core principles which allow it and its interactors at any level to prosper on a simple, rapid, enjoyable and mutually beneficial basis.
Sacrosanct core principles include being:
- Colleagues and their families
- Clients / End users of the product or service
- Suppliers / Service Providers
- Local and wider community
The core principles are the building blocks at the foundation of any Conscious Business, regardless of its area of operation – if they are firmly in place in relation to all of the interactors, then the result is a highly successful, sustainable organisation that knows no boundary and can achieve literally anything.
By success, I mean:
- Products / services judged as market leading by clients and peers
- Happy and fulfilled colleagues
- Perception and proof that the organisation is a force for good
- Shareholders satisfied with their ROI
- Surpassing of all interactor expectations
- Long term sustainability
No need to include the ‘P’ word as it is an automatic by-product of Conscious Business!
So, what’s the catch? How difficult or easy is it to make the transition to a Conscious Business? Well, it’s like anything worth achieving, it does take time and effort and is a continuous process. But there is nothing to fear.
The biggest challenge to established organisations is wholeheartedly committing to the principles, some of which can at first appear to contradict traditional business practices and personal behavior in the workplace.
Firstly, we have to talk the talk and then we have to walk the walk. Nothing to fear though, the tiny steps morph into long strides and it’s an entirely liberating process. The result is a way of business and life that melds together far more then ever before. Participants feel good about themselves and their organisation. All interactors benefit.
One of the beauties of the concept is that it is developing on a continuous basis and there is such scope for personalisation – each business can achieve overall consciousness but with a unique personal twist.
Some companies make the decision from a position of equilibrium but others are prompted by some type of crisis, perhaps a massive downturn in their particular sphere of operation or a succession or strategy issue.
Ironically, it’s easier to persuade companies in crisis that a major structural change is the way to go as there are not so many alternatives. For those companies in equilibrium it’s about helping them to see that sustainable organisations are highly conscious of the changing world around them.
To make a successful transition, everyone within the organisation needs to commit to the principles but this will only happen if the organisational culture is seen and felt to be changing. It can only change if the people currently in senior management roles understand and desire the transition but there will almost certainly be a few who are afraid and protective of their position.
(As the process unfolds, poor performing senior managers will lose the protection of any fake fortresses they have created and will either improve their performance or find new challenges elsewhere – more about that in a later blog post on Conscious HR.).
As a consultant, it is critical to work closely with the existing management team on an individual and group basis, to empathise and reduce fear together by discussing any elephants in the room.
Start with the core principles, the building blocks, and spend significant time exploring with the management team what the acceptance of these principles means in practical terms for themselves and their business.
This process will soon result in draft mission, vision and values which can be applied to all aspects of the organisation.
There will be some funny looks at times but as the group discusses the concept from a perspective that all interactors will benefit then the light bulbs in peoples’ heads will start to come on.
It is now time to internally publicise the desire and reasons for becoming a Conscious Business. Involve everyone within the organisation, this time the management team working with their departments on an individual and group basis, in the same way that you worked with them.
The finalised and agreed versions of the mission, vision and values statements will be a truly joint effort and can now be lived by the entire team.
Yes, there may still be some skepticism by certain members of the workforce that good things will truly happen but the basis is in place and it is now time to actually change the organisational culture of the organisation, to become a truly Conscious Business.
In my follow-up posts, I am going to explore how Conscious HR and Conscious Sales benefit the equation.