Mediation and mindfulness have become a popular training subject in Silicon Valley high tech companies. It is a very, very useful practice for us as humans. I would go so far as to say, we cannot fully live out our humanness without the capability to exercise mindfulness. That is, to engage in being conscious of ourselves and our effects. I do however believe that this needs to happen in the fray of life, not just in sitting through exercises once or twice a day. That is rarely taught or practiced. The assumption is that if we do it a couple of times a day it will spill over.
It does help.
There are some lasting effects from daily mindfulness practice. But there is also some lost opportunity for not learning to have a living practice of consciousness throughout the day. In fact, this is what I often call my approach to business.
Consciousness at Work
You may, mistakenly, think of consciousness as a subject purely related to contemplation and Eastern spiritual practices, and relevant only to far-out business founders who meditate. Or maybe to psychology and the working of the brain, only of interest to brain surgeons or shrinks.
It may surprise you to know that it is a capability used by really good executive teams in the:
- development of markets they can own forever (P&G used it to develop Tide and dozens of other products based on segmentation that fit them perfectly)
- development of systems integrated products that others cannot displace (DuPont owns the Safety business in every product field because it used consciousness practices to become a part of the customer’s system)
- to build workforces that have the same view of the business as the shareholder, the executives, and the community (Kingsford’s employees make strategic decisions in every major business arena)
- to create cross-functional integration, without constant meetings and memos to keep people informed (C-P Europe has seamless handoffs across nations and languages that single companies, even departments, long for)
- to align the organization behind the thrust of the company without repeating and raising the volume every week. (Every Deer Park employee is on the same page)
All this is possible because of building a powerful capability across the entire workforce, called consciousness, that is foundational to seeing bigger, seeing further and understanding how things work together.
Consciousness is a term we apply to those who are self-starting, who overcome adversity/restraints and demonstrate greater intelligences that are the foundation for creativity and productivity. Consciousness is a powerful force in business, although it isn’t always acknowledged directly. In fact, we believe that the amount of individual and group consciousness at a company is the best predictor of its growth and sustained success.
Here are a few of our premises regarding Consciousness at Work:
1. An individual, or group, cannot do what they don’t have the consciousness to do.
Sometimes it will seem like a person or team has “everything they need” and yet they fail. Often, they simply lack the required level of consciousness.
Levels of consciousness correspond to a person or teams ability to integrate thinking, leadership, decision making and action. This is true from top to bottom of the organization.
2. When you pay for “Top Talent” you are paying for a higher level of consciousness.
Higher levels of consciousness allow us to mobilize more intelligence, responsibility, and energy.
When we meet a “Superstar” that impresses us with the amount they can do, do well and do while interacting well with all kinds of people around them – we are reacting to their high level of consciousness.
As we know – we pay more for people like this and we can never find enough.
3. Higher levels of Consciousness (and the increase in intelligence, responsibility, and energy that go with it) can be developed in every person (starting from where they are) throughout their whole life. This means you. This means your employees.
Humans are designed to grow in consciousness and commonly pick up “more conscious” behavior (thinking, deciding and acting) through exposure.
I do not believe this. Only through experience with reflection or with development do they pick up more. This means when we work with 5-10% of your workforce, another 80-95% will improve through the interactions they have with employees who work with us directly (they are introducing capability into the organization, not just being different themselves or giving exposure. They lead different and change the way work is done.
4. Consciousness is a good infrastructure investment.
Investing in the capacity to exercise consciousness, based on our research, is a very good bet. It can be viewed as a “build or buy” decision. You can locate, recruit and pay for a team of rare superstars or you can develop yourself and the people around you into those superstars – with a level of consciousness that will be rewarding for you personally, for your company and for your community.
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For more on the subject of mindfulness and exercise of consciousness at work. listen to Business Second Opinion Podcast #104 Mindfulness at Work and #101 Top Talent and Acquisition.