Conscious Business is no longer an alternate theory hiding in the shadows. As business theories go, it is by far one of the most effective, appropriate and acceptable ways to propel your business forward. But it is not just a theory. We see it in practice every day – when business owners make that necessary shift to their mindset and strategy they are doing so to create emotionally intelligent leaders, empowered and aligned teams and socially responsible practices, with everyone focused and working towards a common goal. This is how they ensure that their business can stand the test of time and always come out on top – successful, powerful and thriving.
But how do we make this shift from a business model that is no longer serving us, our teams, our customers and our planet, to one that is focused on growth and empowerment at every level?
Change of course cannot happen overnight. Commitment, focus and hard work are paramount to being able to transition yourself and your business to grow consciously. But there is no need to feel overwhelmed. We start with the basics, with the foundational tools that will allow us to work consistently and effect the change we are striving towards. And at the foundation of every Conscious Business are three basic pillars.
PILLAR 1: KNOW THYSELF
It is not by chance that these words were carved into the entrance of the sacred Temple of Apollo in Delphi. The oracle who was housed there and was known the world over could offer her prophecies to those coming to see her from distant lands, but what use would they be if her visitors had not turned their minds to the primal question: “Who Am I”?
Know Thyself. Look within. Learn who you are, what drives you, your purpose and your values. Start to work on the 5 key attributes shared by every Conscious Leader: responsibility; driven by key values; honest and open communication; transparent dealings and controlled emotions; forever learning.
There cannot be a shift in your business if there is no shift in your mindset. Look within, gain clarity on what you do and why you do it, what you can improve and how you can be more in tune with the world around you. Everything you think, say and do has an impact on you and the people you come into contact with. Every action has a reaction. How can you become a better person to effect change and create greatness? We always start by going within.
PILLAR 2: KNOW OTHERS
You do not live in a vacuum – every minute of every day you are interacting with someone. Be it your colleagues, your boss, your partner or your children, there is an exchange occurring. How well do you know all these people? Some better than others, yes, but you cannot have meaningful and constructive exchanges if you cannot understand where the other person is coming from. We often say that you cannot reason with a toddler because you cannot feel what they feel or think as they think. But you can try to understand it. And as a parent you do – you put yourself in their shoes to see what is making them react in that way and how you can help to make them feel better.
The same applies to your colleagues, team members, management, customers, suppliers and anyone else who enters your life during your day. Get to understand each person – what their driving force is, what makes them tick. What they value and what experiences they bring to the table. How can you empower your team members? How can you successfully negotiate a difficult transaction? By understanding the person standing across from you. What do they need from this exchange and why? Whether it is guidance and mentoring or a better deal on your production costs, you need to be mindful and aware that every other person also has something they can bring to the exchange and something they will want to walk away with.
If you operate solely from your own perspective, you are destined for failure. Growth takes teamwork and empowerment. It takes acknowledgment and encouragement. It takes an understanding that everyone and everything is connected and interrelated, so you need to know the person sitting next to you. And when you do get to know them, then you will care. And your shift in perception has begun.
PILLAR 3: KNOW THE WORLD AROUND YOU
How often do you think about your impact on the world around you? Are your practices perhaps doing damage or are you limiting your effect? We have learnt to save water, recycle, reduce waste and utilise solar energy where we can. We have also learnt that we can save paper by not printing unnecessary documents and save energy by switching off all appliances before we leave the office for the day. But is this enough?
No. What is your impact in your community? Do you add value and offer support? Look around you and see where you can contribute to your society as a first step. Then expand it outwards – where do you source your products from? Who manufactures your designs? What is your impact? Who is involved across the production chain from idea to implementation to final product?
Corporate Social Responsibility policies remain an opt in concept. As absurd as that sounds, there are still companies that are not looking at the bigger picture and we all know this is so. From environmental catastrophes with oil companies, to humanitarian abuse through the clothing industry, we have seen the disregard for all forms of life that has been exemplified over the years. When we understand the role our businesses can play in this way, we will become more conscious of what is going on around us and how we are impacting the world as a whole. And that is a step in the right direction.
Conscious Business requires us to turn our awareness to ourselves, our fellow human beings and our planet. By doing so we can create sustainable, empowered and aligned businesses. It is our true nature as human beings to be mindful and to care and it is time we tune into who we really are and the greatness that we can achieve as a result.
Artemis Evangelidi, Managing Director, Holistic Business and Legal Consultant
Originally published at www.aipeia.com