A brief chat about conscious business…
Cross-posted from Paul Levy’s Rational Madness blog here.
According to Jamie, a regular café converser with CATS3000’s Paul Levy, conscious business uses “Common Sense to change the way business is done.” Here Paul has elaborated Jamie’s powerful eleven point checklist and the call is now out for your input!
Comment: You’ll notice a certain take on what common sense means in the set of behaviours Jamie outlines below. These behaviours embody a useful checklist for being a conscious business. Jamie and his colleagues at Conscious Business People work with organisations to help bring this consciousness about.
Pyper’s Eleven Elements of a Conscious Business
A conscious business behaves in the following ways:
- Uses plain speaking
- Is more profitable
- Is always applying common sense
- Is a place where everyone wins
- Is always grounded in evidence based stuff that works and is proven
- Tolerates no bullshit
- Lives a philosophy that is easy to grasp and apply
- Believes that Anyone can do it
- Is designed around simple idiot-proof concepts
- Is a popular place to work: People love it
- Continues to learn and develop
Let’s dive further into these…
1. Uses plain speaking
The language of a conscious business supports that consciousness. This is a jargon and bullshit free organisation. The language of the business is aimed at clarity, understanding and reflects as true a picture of what is going on internally and externally as possible. People speak plainly, say what they think and how they feel in a culture that encourages and values openness and honesty
2. Is more profitable
A conscious business has a real time clear picture of its processes. It knows what things costs and is mindful of resources. It uses only the resources that are needed to get work done and to deliver products and services to customers. It is lean, though never mean. It is more profitable because it minimises costs and all of its processes are energy efficient. Things are not minimised for their own sake, but rather optimised leading to processes that deliver excellence.Being conscious of costs, processes and the dynamics of value creation all feed into the profitability of a conscious business.
3. Is always applying common sense
Common sense is a core ethic in the business. Common sense is the shared language and practice that makes sense to all employees and those with a stake in the organisation. Common sense is the common ground on which everyone meets in practice. People understand the logic of the business – why we do things the way we do. There is a regularly updating dialogue within the business and with its community about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and how it could be done better.
4. Is a place where everyone wins
Organisations exist for the benefit of all their stakeholders. A conscious business does not play the game of win and lose. It seeks to create authentic value in ways that allow it to sustain itself, thrive, and ensure that those who depend on it thrive in ways that allow them to further feed their energy, feedback and commitment into it
5. Is always grounded in evidence based stuff that works and is proven
A conscious business doesn’t guess. It measures what needs to be measured, collects and shares information as necessary that is relevant and useful. It collects and shares stories in order to learn from experience. It builds information into evidence to inform further decisions and actions.
6. Tolerates no bullshit
A conscious business is grounded in truthfulness. It makes a virtue of accurate data, and rewards directly accessible truth. People tell the truth, never fudge nor engage in spin. Language doesn’t only have to be technical The conversation can be humorous, motivating but is always motivated by a sense of honesty and truth. People trust what they hear in a conscious business, wherever and whoever it comes from.
7. Lives a philosophy that is easy to grasp and apply
The mission of the business is clear to all. We know why we do what we do. Motives aren’t hidden but out in the open. Products and services have a clear and well-articulated underlying philosophy. The people in the business are aware of, and committed to the values of the business and this is reflected in their consistent, freely applied daily behaviour. Each person lives the philosophy, because they want to, not because they have to.
8. Believes that anyone can do it
A conscious business does not shroud its approach in jargon and mystique. Grounded in common sense it believes that everyone from the product designer to the managing director, to the security guard can practice conscious business. Consciousness is accessible to all of us, regardless of income or qualifications. We can all reflect on what we do, speak openly, honestly, observe and learn, share information, and apply what we know mindfully and carefully, as well as consistently and truthfully. We can all be open to feedback, responsive and keen to question and input.
9. Is designed around simple idiot proof concepts
The core ideas and processes in a conscious business are articulated clearly, never too dependent on one personality, can be learned from simple documentation regularly updated and innovated as needed. There is a culture of prevention – preventing things going wrong and learning from mistakes in a fear-free culture. Ideas need not be over-complex and the business puts value on simplicity and clarity. Processes tend to be mapped in pictures rather than over-wordy text. Media are used skilfully and processes are designed in smart ways that help task completion in problem-free ways.
10. Is a popular place to work: People love it
A conscious business is a motivated, energising place of respect. There are no hidden agendas. Irritations are brought out in the open. The working environment is light, vibrant and reflects people being open and up for change when it is needed. Work space is flexible, creative and there are times and spaces for refreshment and reflection. The business feels honest and a trusting place to work. People love what they do because it reflects their own authentic sense of self. And yes, the “L” word! People love the business and love working in it.
11. Continues to learn and develop
There’s a culture that values curiosity. We learn from mistakes and are open to the new. Ideas can come from anyone or anywhere and at any time but tend to be timed and focused on emerging business challenges and questions. Feedback and dialogue inform steady state and consistency over time. New skills, new knowledge evolve as needed. We know what we don’t know quickly and this becomes our learning agenda. The business feels as if it is always updating, changing when needed, and staying “in touch”.
There are probably more. We welcome your input to these. A conscious business is also conscious that there is no such thing as a checklist cast in stone in a dynamic world!
The checklist can form the beginning of a real and potentially ground-breaking conversation for an organisation that would like to call itself a conscious business. It can create some challenging debate on a leadership team and can also mark start of a turnaround for an organisation in crisis.
An Activity – How Do You Measure Up?
1. Score yourself above out of 10 on where you feel you are on each of the elements of the Conscious Business Wheel. Shade each segment from the centre, outwards, where the centre is zero and the circle perimeter is 10. Be honest.
2. Pick one that you would like to improve:
3. Reflect on what you are going to do to improve that score. (Plenty of resources on this site to help you!)
- What will get in your way?
- What support will you need to overcome it?
Contact Jamie for a further conversation or leave a comment below.
I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours yesterday with the entrepreneurs at the Fusebox, an exciting Brighton-based project. Tom Nixon invited me and a crowd of other mentors to meet the participants – a great bunch of people all round.
Whenever I meet entrepreneurs with new ideas I am struck by how their ideas reflect their personalities and passions.
This is a very good thing – for me, a big part of the joy of meeting entrepreneurs is seeing their creative process in action, watching them express, and flex, their ideas.
There’s a lot to be learnt from even a short chat – as someone tells you why they are interested and passionate about a subject, what got them involved, why of all the millions of things they could be doing they have picked this particular one.
I learn something about the subject, and the approach they are taking is often stimulating and new too. Again and again I am inspired by people’s individual passion and how far this has taken them, and will take them on their journey.
But people are complicated, of course. Entrepreneurs’ creations tend to reflect their personalities perfectly. So each creation, each venture, while containing their passion and personality, also contains the full breadth of each entrepreneur’s nature. The twists and turns, and perhaps even the ‘flaws’, are there too.
Over time aspects of personality that may hold the entrepreneur back become clearer, hopefully to the participants, and also to those around them. These are the personal challenges each may need to overcome if they are to realise their dreams and hopes and aspirations. Entrepreneurs, like all of us, have often suffered hurt and pain. Sometimes this is still unresolved.
From the point of view of Conscious Business, completing this inner journey is as important as the outer one.
The inner journey itself can offer a sense of success. Some of these hurts may be resolved and overcome. People grow fast when immersed in the cauldron of a start-up.
Often, of course, such a venture will not take the entrepreneur where they expect – they’ll be surprised by the lessons they learn and the ways the learning is delivered. But with luck they’ll end up as a different, and hopefully fuller person.
And in terms of external success, I believe looking inwards, discovering and resolving these issues is as much the solution to a business problem as external work such as clarifying the value proposition, developing the business model, and finding partners and investors.
The challenge for the Fusebox programme, and for the systematic development of entrepreneurial ventures in general, is to create an environment that makes it possible for both kinds of development – inner and outer – to happen simultaneously, and in mutually reinforcing ways.
The mentor model is great – connecting people with different sets of experience, knowledge and skills together. But good mentorship also develops real trust between mentee and mentor. Often this is the trust to share really valuable personal feedback, about our personal blindspots and flaws. That feedback can make the difference between continuing in a ever-repeating cycle, or breaking out of it to new ground.
Our world is sadly lacking such opportunities. The combination of personal defences and high levels of anxiety in organisations make genuine, untainted feedback a rare commodity in many businesses.
It’s great to see the Fusebox programme identifying this and trying to do something about it.
Quora sent me a link to an interesting topic the other day: As first time entrepreneurs, what part of the process are people often completely blind to?
There are many good answers, but mine would be: Manage Yourself.
What I mean is look after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.
I have seen entrepreneurs and other business people make themselves ill. And clearly if they are physically unfit, developing and growing a business becomes hard if not impossible.
I have seen entrepreneurs suffer much mental distress. They have made poor decisions, blamed other people, and failed to take the right action at the right time.
I have seen entrepreneurs stay unaware of their emotional selves. And in doing so they have often inadvertently pushed away those who would help them under other circumstances.
What’s more I have done all these things myself. And therefore I know that I was completely blind to these things at the time.
Hey ho. Onward and upward.