In the corporate setting, it seems the idea of serving others as we would serve ourselves has changed to self-serve only.
This paradigm has led to devastating consequences; just look at the fallout of the Bernie Maddox scandal and how many people that hurt, the now defunct Enron, or the current Wells Fargo fiasco.
In all of these situations, where was the consciousness of the leader…the organization? Certainly it was not focused on the desire to serve others honestly and fairly.
There is a lot of disillusionment in our world today. Breaking through those illusions and coming back to center is imperative if we are going to survive in a competitive market economy.
Can capitalism and consciousness coexist? I say yes, and so do more and more of the innovative leaders that are building businesses today.
The corporate world has a powerful ability to influence our current state of consciousness. To do that will require skilled and conscientious leaders.
So what is conscious leadership, and how do we recognize and support it when it shows up?
In the words of University of Virginia Darden School of Business professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. trustee, Ed Freeman,
“We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is more than to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is more than simply to generate profits).”
In other words, a large aspect of conscious leadership involves being deeply connected to the purpose and mission of the organization more than just the money it can generate.
We are social animals; we want to feel and be a part of a tribe, and along with that need to belong is the need to know what unites us. What is the purpose we serve?
An organization that focuses and operates around its deeper purpose becomes more conscious. It inspires, engages and connects to its stakeholders. Employees, customers and others trust and support companies that have a meaningful purpose and mission.
Robert Greenleaf, author of Servant Leadership noted, “Good leaders must first become good servants.”
The examples of leadership displayed in the media are of the ego driven individuals that tell how they have done everything themselves. They forget to mention all of the individuals that supported and assisted in the achievement of the goals.
Unfortunately, the examples of good leadership do not get the media attention the negative ones do. Here are a few examples of organizations teaching and modeling conscious leadership.
Whole Foods - has an Academy for Conscious Leadership that prepares its leaders through acts of service. On a personal note, a client has worked for this company and is serving overseas on one of the missions. To learn more about this program you can visit: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/academy-conscious-leadership
- Zappos- the CEO, Tony Hseih, wrote a book called Delivering Happiness. Here are a few concepts from the book.
- Pay new employees $2000 to quit.
- Make customer service the responsibility of the entire company, not just a department.
- Focus on company culture as the #1 priority.
- Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business.
- Help employees grow both personally and professionally.
- Seek to change the world.
- Oh, and make money too.
Check out the book at http://deliveringhappiness.com/book/
In addition to running my coaching business, I assist my husband in operating his ballroom dance studio. The purpose and mission of the studio is to create a fun and safe place for people to come and experience the benefits of dancing… emotional, physical, mental and spiritual and to meet other like-minded people.
The best feedback we get is when a customer tells us how much they love coming to the studio. They often express they feel happier and love the atmosphere. Recently our front desk manager shared that of all the jobs she has had, this one is the best, because it is such a fun place to work!
This did not happen by accident. It happened because my husband and I were clear about the purpose and mission of the studio. Dance has healed and shaped our own lives in powerful ways, and we want to share that gift with others.
It is possible to change the world. Become more conscious about who these leaders are and seek to support them, or become one yourself and bring more conscious leadership to your company!