“It’s as if I was watching myself be a jerk!”
The VP sitting in my office is distressed and embarrassed as he is telling me about his recent conversation with a talented engineer. “Dave, this is great news!” I say excitedly, and he stares at me as if I went off the deep end.
My favorite definitions of consciousness are “the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world” and “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself.”
Creating organizational consciousness takes practice and the adoption of consciousness-building habits. Here is the first installment of “6 Habits of Conscious Organizations” to support you in creating conscious work environments.
First things first, and that means awareness.
Why was I so excited by Dave’s statement you ask? Consciousness begins with awareness. Awareness leads to taking appropriate actions as illuminated by the newly found awareness.
Dave (a highly gifted engineer himself) was widely known to be rude and offensive at the office, without realizing the pervasiveness of his behavior or its impact on others. Once he became aware – and able to see himself “being a jerk” – changing his behavior became a much easier task.
John Renesch defines conscious organization as “one that is continually examining itself, committed to becoming as self-aware and responsible as it can at any given time in its life. Becoming conscious is becoming aware of something, then acting responsibly in light of the new awareness.”
According to Thomas Merton, “compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.”
When I am making choices grounded in the awareness that we are all connected, the impact of my business decisions moves beyond the shareholders, stakeholders, customers, suppliers, or employees. I start looking at it from the holistic point of view – what is the impact of my choices on my community and the world.
Blaine Bartlett, CEO of Avatar Resources Inc., speaks of compassion as the distillery of choices that has the potential to change the nature of how we conduct business.
Compassion is predicated on the notion that everything is connected. So trade-offs – where we make a business decision in favor of a certain stakeholder group at the cost of another stakeholder group – are not an option.
3. Conscious Communication
To raise consciousness, we have to alter our way of speaking and communicating so that everybody feels safe to communicate authentically, and everybody gets heard. Once we become truly aware of the differences in peoples’ mindsets, approaches to life and beliefs, we can actually begin to appreciate how similar we are in our deepest needs and desires. Seeing those commonalities allows the development of deep trust and kinship. This enables the kind of authentic and courageous communications which cause conscious leadership and conscious organizations.
In the regular course of business, knowledge transfer does not often happen in organizations. Busy supervisors don’t take the time to create organizations of learning, discovery, and understanding. That’s where mentoring comes in.
Mentoring accelerates and develops cultural assimilation. Through developing ongoing relationships with their mentors, everyone in the organization more fully understands and embraces company values and culture.
As mentors and mentees spend time together, they build a network of strong relationships between people in different segments of the organization…and discover leaders in the organization they can count on for support.
Mentoring provides a unique opportunity for employees to build a bond with senior leaders they otherwise would not have even met, and benefit from their wisdom. This builds alignment, camaraderie, and an experience of common purpose. Both mentors and mentees become more self-aware and better versions of themselves.
Mentoring supports mentors and company leaders to have a finger on the pulse of the organization, and be more connected to the organization as a whole. As we teach, we learn.
Being a victim is not allowed. Neither is being defensive and placing blame. Everyone takes 100% ownership of the situation.
This is my favorite definition of responsibility:
“Responsibility begins with the willingness to take the stand that one is cause in the matter of one’s life. It is … a context from which one chooses to live. Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame or guilt. In responsibility, there is no evaluation of good or bad, right or wrong. … Being responsible starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from the view of life that you are the generator of what you do, what you have and what you are.”
— Werner Erhard
A few more words from the wise:
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of…”
— Jim Rohn
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.”
— Wayne Dyer
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
— Winston Churchill
“Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility… in the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have… is the ability to take on responsibility.”
— Michael Korda
6. Working Smart
Working smart increases velocity, produces synergy, and creates exponential growth.
It allows us to move through our day with more focus, awareness, and purpose. See Work Smart. Work Consciously. for ideas for working smart. Try them on and see what fits best.
A few last words about creating conscious organizations.
Claudia E. Mino, Ph.D., VP of Organizational Development at Carrington Mortgage Holdings, notices a strong correlation between the health of the environment you work in and the wellness of people’s personal lives, health of their families, and their general life satisfaction.
A conscious environment absolutely translates into better family life and better personal life. Provide a happy environment so people thrive and you’ll see conversation at home and at happy hour change from complaining to empowering.
That alone, and in turn, translates into more effective, productive, successful, and empowered people producing extraordinary results.