There is a new paradigm of business that is evolving as we move into the new century. Millennials are flooding the workplace, our society is brimming with social unrest, and people are hoping to find new ways of living.
Businesses are realizing that people are socially concerned and are becoming selective about the organizations that they’re buying from. You could say that consumers are becoming conscious.
Business leaders are wondering how to keep a new generation of employees engaged and how to meet the needs of a changing base of customers. To achieve this and support planetary change, organizations are looking towards conscious business.
Conscious business is about organizations having an awareness of the impact that they have both on the environment and on people. It’s about having an awareness of what the external impact will be and how their business is run.
While “business as usual” may have been enough to achieve success before, conscious business is crucial to meeting the demands of the present.
Going Beyond Carbon Footprint
It’s common for organizations to claim that they are a “conscious business” because they have a program to mitigate their carbon footprint. However, just being aware of your organization’s impact on the environment doesn’t make a conscious business. We need to go deeper than that and also look at how people are showing up in the workplace. What are the structures and processes that are in place within your work environment? How are those impacting the people in the workplace and the products and services that they’re creating?
For example, is there psychological safety amongst the workers in your workplace? Are there threats of layoffs? Is there real collaboration between people? Are all of your structures and processes based on a command and control framework?
Modern management, which is based on following processes and procedures and looking primarily at the bottom line, takes the humanity out of the workplace. It also doesn’t allow workers to use their own intelligence to devise new ways of working, to be more creative and innovative. People start to feel like they’re drones, and high-performance is far out of sight.
What Is a Conscious Business?
Conscious business, on the other hand, creates a workplace where employees find meaning in their jobs and have the freedom to innovate. Conscious business enriches the lives of both employees and customers and regenerates the ecological systems it benefits from. The Conscious Business Declaration does a great job summarizing many of the key points of conscious business.
- We Are One with humanity and all of life. Business and all institutions of the human community are integral parts of a single reality – interrelated, interconnected and interdependent.
- In line with this reality, the purpose of Business is to increase economic prosperity while contributing to a healthy environment and improving human wellbeing.
- Business must go beyond sustainability and the philosophy of “do no harm” to restoring the self-renewing integrity of the Earth.
- Business must operate with economic, social, and ecological transparency.
- Business must behave as a positive and proactive member of the local and global communities in which it operates.
- Business that sees, honors, and celebrates the essential interconnected nature of all human beings and all life maximizes human potential and helps create a world that works for all.
- When aligned with Oneness, Business is the most powerful engine on Earth for creating prosperity and flourishing for all.
While this declaration is a great start, the key missing piece is around how we show up as individuals and leaders. While the structures, processes, and policies are important, it’s the human element that matters the most. Consciousness is a way of being that seeks to do no harm and functions in a mindset and behaviors of peace and oneness. It is not business as usual. And only leaders who are conscious can create a conscious business.
Conscious Business Starts With Leaders
Most leaders operate in a low state of consciousness. By that, I mean that our thoughts, belief systems, and behaviors are coming from a state of unawareness. We’re not aware of these things, and we’re certainly not aware of how they impact people around us.
Take some time to notice what state of consciousness you’re in. Most of the time you’ll notice that you’re in a state of frustration, anger, or sadness – or you’re completely distracted. That means you’re not being conscious of the impact that you have on your environment and the people around you.
Becoming a conscious leader has two aspects, both of which require awareness. The first is “Being.”
Looking at and working with your internal state–how you’re showing up–is the foundation of conscious leadership. How are you treating people? How do you feel about the people that you work with? Do you have anger and frustration? Do you try to push your agenda on other people? Are you really listening to others and to the organizational system? These are small things, but awareness of how you’re showing up is the essential foundation of conscious leadership.
The bigger picture for how to create a conscious business is looking at all of the practices, structures, and procedures that you have in place as an organization. Are you looking at how people are being treated? Is the environment set up for psychological safety? Are meetings run in such a way that everybody has a voice? Are you mandating your processes and procedures or a values program? While structural change is important, it will make little difference if you haven’t attended to the Being aspect of conscious business first.
It’s All About the People
How can you tell if yours is a conscious business? The metric is the internal state of the people that work in your organization. That’s how to measure a conscious business, and from that, when people are in a higher state of consciousness and they’re working in an organization, they’re all working towards the evolutionary purpose of the organization.
People are happy, motivated, engaged. They’re healthier, they’re going to treat each other in healthy ways with respect and equal voice. From that place of psychological safety, they’re also going to recognize how effective the products and services are and how the organization is impacting the external environment.
Conscious business begins by treating people well and creating an environment where people are really happy, engaged and motivated. It leads to high performance, innovation, creativity, and adaptability.
The ROI on conscious business practices is huge, but there’s more to conscious business than that. People in a conscious organization are also working towards taking care of the organization and taking care of the external world because they want to have a positive impact on the world. They’re given an environment where that care is encouraged and treated as a priority. A ripple effect happens so that the organization in itself is conscious of the impact on the outside world.
People in a conscious business have all their needs meet–they are fulfilled, they have abundance, they are in healthy workplaces, and they are treated well. Because of this, they have the capacity to care for others, for the needs of the organization and the society they serve.
How to Change the World
Businesses impact every facet of society, which in turn impacts the whole planet. The fastest way to shift the consciousness of humanity and bring more peace on this planet was to do it through the workplace. Everybody has a job or is connected to those who work for organizations. And everyone is impacted by the products and services that are created and used by these organizations.
There’s also a ripple effect of consciousness that happens when a business is run consciously. The shift in consciousness will impact and shift the consciousness of the consumers. The consumers will experience a shift in their consciousness and in turn impact and create a shift in consciousness in their communities, in society.
We believe the fastest way to shift or raise the consciousness of humanity and for the human race to live in a peaceful way, is to begin by shifting the consciousness of organizations and the people who work in them.
It starts with each of us making our own individual shifts in consciousness. Together we can change the world.