At the recent inspiring and thought provoking meeting I had a surprising conversation about Conscious Business.
He said: “The name Conscious Business attracted me here to be with others who know what Conscious Business means.”
I said: “Interesting. I’m here because I don’t think we know what it means.”
He said: “Actually, I think you are right!”
I said: “I disagree, I think you are right!”
As the conversations about this continue holding this ‘both/and’ paradox about Conscious Business seems a necessary hypothesis.
Let’s jump to a piece on the BBC’s Today programme about Ants and Edward Wilson, a sociobiologist.
Wilson’s research concludes that ants’ behaviour showing altruism and consideration for the wider ant community is embedded in their genes even more than the importance of necessity and kinship. Their behaviour is more than utilitarian. (Looks like a rich area to investigate; and it should give us hope for the future.)
Now, if we apply this to a family: is a family a family or a collection of siblings and parents? Is the family competitive or collaborative? Families clearly show both.
(Let’s not go further to the fundamentals of left and right wing politics – in essence: is a society a society, or a collection of individuals?)
So, the purpose of this post is to address the tricky question: ‘What is it that is holding businesses back?’
Traditionally businesses have been for the benefit of shareholders – the profit motive. This extends to the (pure) marketing idea of the importance of the customer to other models of partnerships and social business. The majority of these structures shift the pendulum from one stakeholder being the priority to another.
At the meeting the need to consider a more collaborative approach was mentioned – for the benefit of both individual stakeholders and the benefit of the entire stakeholder network. The win–win can then be applied to all. (Rather than win-win in the traditional business sense).
And this starts the paradigm shift: by holding the paradox of both/and rather than either/or we move to a new way of looking at business.