What are the important characteristics of a Conscious Business? In July about 20 of us met in Brighton to discuss this and to develop ideas of how organisations, particularly those that are small and medium-sized, can practically become more conscious and to use this awareness to improve what they do and to share experience with others.
For large companies there are many audit tools, quality systems and awards to choose from. From personal experience I know that they can be worthwhile, but they can be very time consuming, bureaucratic and take valuable resource out of the company. They can have complex ways to examine and put a number on what people do in organisations (ie what people value and how they work with each other to bring about change). Paradoxically the very act of putting a number on these interactions eclipses the essential quality of those interactions they seek to shine a light on. The aim of the workshop was to develop something straightforward and meaningful that small and medium-sized organisations could use.
The general features were agreed, a Conscious Business is: respectful, transparent, is fair, is involved in its community, is authentic, is humble, learns, makes a profit, is ethical, is honest, pays tax and is aware mindful of the full impact it has. All of these are important, but without context of what actually happens in practice they can lack meaning.
At the workshop these were further refined into the following distinct themes.
- Conscious about Profit
- Social Value
- Have Generosity
In order to bring these themes to life in a practical way we worked on: 1) concrete and everyday examples: 2) what are the two or three question areas that bring these themes to life. These now feature in our Changing Conscious Business Conversations Tool. There are no metrics or scoring mechanisms in the Tool. The focus is on having conversations. These are conversations that relate to what people do in their organisation and how they relate to their environment, suppliers and customers. Meaningful conversations, particularly with people who you wouldn’t normally speak with, enable people to notice what has not been noticed before and to understand their importance. A few conversations and a page or two of notes can form the basis of an action plan to bring about change. These notes and the action plan can also form the basis of further conversations with other Conscious Businesses with the aim of sharing what works and avoiding what doesn’t. It helps to raise the consciousness of conscious business within the community.
The tool can be found following the hyperlink here.
If you are inspired to use this in your organisation we would very much like to fear from you – what went well, what could be improved, and most importantly the difference it made.