Conscious leadership; conscious capitalism

I am passionate about helping leaders consciously create businesses that go beyond just making profit at any cost. I believe that growing global competitive pressures, uncertain economic times, a questionable ethical climate, and growing environmental issues are challenging leaders at all levels and in all types of organisations. The problems facing organisations today call for a new kind of leadership.

In my view (and I am indebted to the work of Marie Legault here), the need for developing ethical, conscious leaders has never been greater if organisations are to deal with the complexity and challenge of the current global economic environment and create opportunities for a sustainable future. I think that developing leaders with a world-centric perspective is essential in order to create and sustain conscious businesses – businesses that are guided by a higher purpose, that seek to deliver value for all stakeholders simultaneously, and that build conscious cultures.

Conscious capitalism is an emerging philosophy based on the belief that businesses can enhance corporate performance and make profit whilst simultaneously improving the quality of life for all stakeholders. Conscious capitalism transforms the existing notion about capitalism by changing the either/or paradigm to a both/and mentality by simultaneously creating financial and societal wealth such as more fulfilled employees, happy and loyal customers, innovative and profitable suppliers, and thriving and environmentally healthy communities (Sisodia, Wolfe and Seth). Conscious capitalism results when conscious leaders create conscious businesses.

Conscious business is driven by the company’s “raison d’être” or higher purpose. Higher purpose, one of the four characteristics of conscious business, transcends profit maximisation and engages all stakeholders – customers, employees, investors, suppliers, and the larger communities – in which the business participates. Conscious business is also driven to create value, in various and often different ways, for all stakeholders. A stakeholder orientation, another characteristic of conscious business, suggests that businesses are part of a complex, interdependent, and evolving system. Efforts are focused on generating synergistic win-win situations that advance the whole system.

Conscious leaders that lead conscious businesses are conscious capitalists. They can advance the development of a conscious society. The starting point is the development of leaders with a world-centric view. Leaders who have reached a world-centric perspective create value for all stakeholders because they recognise that the needs of society and corporate performance intersect. They believe that doing well and doing good are linked (Strong; Sisodia, Wolfe and Seth; Mackey; Swartz). In fact, organisations led by leaders who simultaneously align the interests of all stakeholders – society, partners, investors, customers, employees, and the environment – outperform well-known organisations recognized for their financial success (Mackey; Sisodia, Wolfe and Seth).

If any of the above resonates with you and you are thinking that business should be about more than just making money, then please call me on 07597 674328 or email me philip@philipperry.com

References:

  1. Legault, Marie. Conscious Capitalism: Leaders and Organizations with a World View. Abstract March 2012
  2. Mackey, John. “Creating a New Paradigm for Business.” Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems. Ed. Strong,
  3. Sisodia, Raj, David B. Wolfe, and Jag Seth. Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton Publishing, 2007. Print.
  4. Strong, Michael, ed. Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. Print.
  5. Swartz, Jeff. “Leadership 2.0: Action in Service to the Planet and Its Citizens” 12th Annual International Leadership Association Global Conference. 2010, October. Print.

Conscious Leadership: Guiding Principles

Although there is no specific definition of a Conscious Leader, there are qualities that contribute to conscious leadership. I like the following nine Guiding Principles which have been developed by the Conscious Leadership Connection (www.consciousleadershipconnection.com). These values are aspirational and provide a narrative that anyone interested in developing as a conscious leader can adopt. The Principles are “written in sand rather than etched in stone” and can be adjusted, embellished and improved by all with a desire to grow as a conscious leader. I use these Principles in my executive and leadership coaching and mentoring as I find them a powerful tool to initiate meaningful conversations about leadership ethics, behaviour and thinking.

Respect

A Conscious Leader hears, understands, accepts and honours people for who they are at their deepest level, witnessing their powerful authentic selves without judgment. A Conscious Leader appreciates and respects people’s differences, holds a deep regard for their feelings and acknowledges their expressiveness and unique contribution to the world. Conscious Leadership requires respect of difference in others.

Integrity

In full integrity, a Conscious Leader is totally authentic, living with clarity of feelings and intentions, expressed in purpose and actions. The unmistakable authenticity that is apparent to all when an individual is living with integrity projects True Power. That individual exhibits trustworthiness that is unmistakable to others

Transparency

A Conscious Leader aspires to be honest, real and as open as a book. True intentions, motivations and agendas are revealed without artifice or guile. The focus on straightforwardness, candour and accountability for actions, commitments and communication with others is constantly maintained. This transparency creates a safe space for others to access and share their own truths.

Co-Creation

Co-creation is pure, authentic, supportive collaboration with others. It allows Conscious Leaders to inspire and enable colleagues to participate in a shared purpose. It enables connections and the formation of quality relationships. It is unflinchingly generous, exploratory and creates the potential for the discovery of unforeseen and treasured concepts.

Transformation

As the saying goes, “The status-quo is an opiate.” The Conscious Leader embraces change as inevitable, necessary, productive, vital and empowering. It is this fundamental lack of resistance to change, this flexibility, that powers evolution, which fulfils the Conscious Leader personally and creates inspiring professional opportunities.

Love

“Love” in a business or management context is experienced and expressed by Conscious Leaders reflecting their self-awareness, openness, and comfort in sharing true feelings. Their willingness to express this emotion, whether the actual word is used or not, communicates enthusiasm, appreciation and encouragement like nothing else. And the feeling extends into the communication of empathy, support, connection, all critical components of the art of conscious leadership.

Wholeness

The conscious Leader is engaged in a life of balance, an embracing of the critical importance of the many aspects of existence that create the whole. Physical health through exercise, the importance of diet, an appreciation of the natural world, self-reflection and emotional health, recreation, a relationship with the divine, and intellectual curiosity combine to make this whole. Conscious Leaders understand that personal fulfilment and success in career are achieved not simply by working harder or longer, but by balance and the practice of wholeness.

Courage

Fortified by the clarity of conviction, the Conscious Leader has the courage to proceed despite resistance, despite barriers, despite fear, despite ridicule, despite rejection. The strength derived from self-awareness, that calm inner-knowing, a commitment to integrity and the willingness to take responsibility, combine to permit the Conscious Leader to jump, knowing that a net will be there to catch him.

Playfulness

Playfulness reflects a lightness of being, a willingness to not take oneself too seriously, a personal confidence and an expression of the joyfulness of life. These are the natural qualities of a Conscious Leader, allowing accessibility and denying the aloofness of the ivory tower. The vulnerability communicated by playfulness communicates a grace that dissolves tensions and encourages others to access and reveal their own truths.