I am not a great one for making New Year’s resolutions. My enthusiasm for seeing them through usually runs out by the end of February. This year feels different though. This time I’m aware of a deep urge (I can’t think of a better word) that is pulling me towards the world of conscious leadership. No matter how much I try to play small and seek a more conventional path, the urge will not go away. It appears that my New Year’s resolution has been set for me. So here goes with my first blog of 2014.
I can’t help noticing that there are lots of signs of economic recovery starting to shoot up. GDP is growing ahead of forecast, new car sales are at record levels, unemployment is down and business confidence is returning. I can almost hear the collective sighs of relief, “thank god the tough times are over – now we can get back to normal!” But what does normal mean, and do we really want to return to the way things were before the credit crunch? Or to put it another way, do we have an opportunity to create something new – something more sustainable and fulfilling as we head into 2014? I wouldn’t be writing this article if I thought the answer was no.
The focus of my work is developing conscious leaders so that they can return to their organisations and bring a higher level of consciousness to the way they operate. Some businesses have conscious leadership at the highest levels and have become Conscious Businesses. These include high profile and oft quoted companies such as South West Airlines, Whole Foods Market, Patagonia and The Body Shop. They have three traits in common:
- A strong sense of human Purpose often linked to the way we live on our Planet
- A very clear focus on People (whether they are employees or customers)
- Acceptance that they are in business to make a Profit.
They work in this order. If you have a strong sense of purpose that connects with humanity (and usually our planet) then people can and will buy into what you are doing. If you focus on bringing out the best in all of the people associated with your business (whether through serving their needs or allowing them to flourish) then they will bring their energy and commitment to your cause. Create these conditions and organise your business well and you will make a good profit.
How many businesses start with the idea of making a good profit first? How many have vision and mission statements announcing their intent to dominate the markets and be the number one player? How many leave the People element to HR without really understanding the links between committed people, good leadership and a healthy profit? Is this what getting back to normal is going to be like?
I understand that even if you agree with my views, getting to the point where you feel the urge to do something about them might be a long way off. The pressures of daily life and the certainty of doing the things that work are hard to overcome. After all, why fix something if it isn’t broken? It may not be broken now but I suspect it will be in the not too distant future.
We have a breathing space to look anew at the way we run our businesses and organisations. We have an opportunity to expand our awareness and allow our consciousness to grow. I have confidence that if we do this, we will come up with a new ideas and new ways of working.
I therefore wish you a happy and prosperous year ahead. I hope you find time to become more conscious of yourself and the world around you. I hope you connect with your “urge” and most of all; I look forward to watching your conscious businesses emerge and flourish.