We are entering a new era in leadership.
Business is undergoing a revolution. This is about everyone getting connected to the purpose of your business, rather than being driven by profit alone. It’s about your business acting responsibly towards the greater system within which it exists and you as leader considering the impact of every decision you make on all the stakeholders in your world, both internal and external. Reckless capitalism is breaking apart and, in its place, we are witnessing the emergence of a kinder, wiser form of capitalism, one in which we are being challenged to harness the power of business for the greater good.
Complexity. Collective intelligence.
At the same time, leaders are faced with complex global challenges that threaten to outrun the linear thinking of our rational minds. Leaders no longer have all the answers or know the future with absolute certainty. The era where we needed to be the smartest person in the room in order to shine is rapidly being replaced by conscious leaders who are willing to share their power and who encourage collaboration across previously perceived boundaries to draw on the collective intelligence of many minds, solve some of the most complex challenges we face and achieve new heights of innovation.
Leadership challenges don’t stop there. Transparency is at a premium and leaders are having to make their business decisions in the public eye. Your customers now come from an older, wiser and more well-informed generation buying on the basis of their values. And your younger customers are connected to each other via powerful social media platforms that influence consumer trends and their decisions about whether or not to buy your products. Combined with your employees who are demanding ever more meaning, purpose and the recognition of their values in the workplace, leaders have no alternative but to evolve how they lead.
“Those companies that lag behind will find themselves in the same fix as the dinosaurs, facing extinction in a world that is no longer hospitable for them.”
John Renesch, Futurist
What is Conscious Leadership?
Conscious leadership is a particular way of thinking, acting and engaging that is well suited to the almost quantum leap that the new business reality is demanding of us. It is no longer enough for us to simply sprinkle more content knowledge on top of our existing leadership mindsets, or do another MBA, and expect to flourish in our leadership roles in this new world. Just as we can’t run new software on old operating systems and expect a great performance, conscious leadership presents us with the opportunity to upgrade our operating system itself. In part, this is about upgrading the complexity and expansiveness of the way we think, what is called our ‘vertical development.’
“To be successful, the leader’s thinking must be equal or superior to the complexity of the environment.”
Nick Petrie, Centre for Creative Leadership
Equally, conscious leadership is also about our way of being: how we lead ourselves and the ways we engage with others. These leaders are grounded in their personal purpose and connect it where possible to their organisation’s purpose. They are inspired by the potential for contribution and the positive impact of their actions on the world around them. They are keen to promote the long term over the short term and benefit to the majority over benefit to the minority. They skilfully hold the space while drawing people together to leverage the collaborative and collective intelligence from all corners of their organisation. And they role model authenticity, aligning their values, their purpose and their behaviour, while being open-minded, open-hearted and fully engaged.
Fully human leaders encourage full humanity in others.
In effect, conscious leadership is a verb, not a noun: leading consciously rather than conscious leadership. It’s about continuing to refine how we see the world, our thinking and our actions. Conscious leadership is as much about self-leadership as it is about leading others. We don’t have to be in a position of authority to be a conscious leader: any person, in or outside of any organisation, can develop their capacities for conscious leadership.
A four-zone model of Conscious Leadership:
- Self-aware and practicing our own self-mastery.
- Connected with others in ways that brings collaborative and collective intelligence to bear.
- Insightful about the systems we are part of and noticing the patterns all around us that inform our decisions.
- Contributing to the world collectively on a larger scale through personal actions, organisational responsibility and purpose.
Conscious Leader Qualities
- Being authentic, rooted in your values and connected to your purpose)
- Forming radical partnerships to innovate across former boundaries.
- Drawing on multiple perspectives to find the answers to complex challenges.
- Getting people to work together collaboratively while skillfully holding the context for doing so.
- Tapping into the importance of meaning, values and bringing your full self to work.
- Using the intelligence of your head, heart and intuition.
- Standing for something that contributes to the world at large and which links your personal purpose to your organisation’s purpose.
- Allowing leadership to come from every corner of your organisation.
- Clear thinking and decision making
- Clarity in seeing new possibilities and articulating new futures
- Enhanced creativity and innovation
- Sustainable change and positive long-term impact
- Enhanced relationships, communication and leadership
- Personal responsibility and a willingness to take action yourself alongside everyone else.
We are passionate about creating conscious leaders.
Business is powerful. Imagine the possibilities of leaders, globally, acting more consciously and doing business differently; influencing thousands of people in their organisations across the world to make better, more sustainable decisions; and leading others to innovate across boundaries in ways that impact the world for the greater good and create a different future for us all.
“Business can be the biggest contributor to ending poverty or it can be one of the biggest causes of the challenges we are facing. There is no business case for enduring poverty. We need a new way: open, inclusive and sustainable. That’s the business model of the future.”
Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever
We offer a range of interventions to support you and your organisation to grow as conscious leaders and conscious businesses: