Newsletter – October 2011

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The Conscious Business


Hi everyone,

Last month we looked at the important issues of how self directing employees are able to bring empowered decision making, passion and excellence into your teams and the wider business by having a personal value system aligned to the company equivalent. I termed such persons as alchemists as they are able to transmute crisis into opportunity, and are always working in the crucible of emotional energies that exist when customers interact with your business.

A conscious employee can work these energies and dynamics in an intuitive way that shapes an emotionally positive outcome. They may make decisions, take risks, and be creative but each time such action is undertaken from the core personal and company value systems.

These employees operate according to the situational dynamics. They may need to adjust the expression of the company ethos with the customer experience such that the customer experience and its link to brand recognition is enhanced and retained.

The problem for many businesses is the presence of individuals, systems and processes that tend to suppress the needed creativity and empowerment of the individual. These entities remind me of the “Dementers” seen in the Harry Potter films. These are dark ghoul creatures as their essence is negative which we equate with the colour black.

Everyone at the workplace has at some time been cornered by one of these types of individuals. Just like in the Harry Potter films they try to suck all of your life force out of you, via your creativity, positivity, and passion, and then leave you as a husk or shell who will never rise up to challenge the status quo again.

These people and some types of rules, systems and processes are really suppressors to any conscious business employee who would activate their individual creativity and adult critical thinking. Some businesses mitigate perceived risk through excessive compliance to such rules, processes and policies, and in doing so create suppression of the creative energies of the employees and their collective wisdom and enthusiasm.

A business such as this may achieve a formulaic outcome but it will become bland and mediocre over time as the creative life energies of employees are minimised and instead there typically exists an over reliance on measurement, statistics and reports. Innovation can invite a visit from a Dementer or the Inquisition.

The Inquisition or a Death Eater character in Harry Potter represents the individuals and parts of the business which have a strong belief system founded or built on excessive control, domination and suppression, and which manages from a place of fear. Creativity tends to be discouraged and suppressed whilst situational empowerment that bypasses blind adherence to rules and policy invites a grilling at the hands of the Inquisition, or a visit from a Death Eater.

In this world there is only one way and blind loyalty must be constantly proven and given in the face of an ominous tone of retribution if that does not occur. In such workplace cultures there is a constant stressful drive to be proving and achieving from a place of fear, and not from a place of passion and enthusiasm. One feels constantly watched, judged and under scrutiny in this toxic culture.

The creative employee who has their vital energies suppressed, suffers the stress of a toxic workplace culture, or has their ideas ignored will tend to move on and leave such an environment. The remaining business culture then slowly shuts down and becomes a closed system over time where innovation lags. The groupthink then dominates that “this is how we do things around here” and is typically embodied by one or more key managers or even executives. Control and the formal use of power tend to dominate such business culture.

A business that tries to activate the creative energies and the collective values of the employees and the business can also suffer from rogue elements in the business who feel threatened by the fluid and flexible dynamics of the business culture. Not everyone can have that fluid nature that can morph and adapt to such dynamics. Bullies also represent a suppressive energy in the workplace and just one individual can wreak havoc in the office as other employees suffer stress, trauma, loss of morale, and are intimidated.

Some adults, especially some who were criticised as children a lot, or who lived in chaotic family systems as children, will have created more rigid and controlling personalities as a coping mechanism. In the face of fluid business dynamics and constant change they become anxious and overwhelmed, and this activates their defences to create order and control through application of stabilising rigid black and white systems, measures and processes.

Some of these people have an inner demon we call the Inner Critic. This is the Inner Critic who tortures the person with self doubt, negative self talk, procrastination, and analysis paralysis. Such a person tries to outthink themself with mapping out every possible forward possibility in life, and having a strategy for each contingency.

Such people often have a compulsive drive to achieve and may excel for some time. However such an approach to life is not sustainable long term. They may also procrastinate a lot. The common consequence is they burn out over time with Depression, Anxiety disorders, Chronic Fatigue, or some sort of mental and emotional exhaustion, or bodily illness caused by stress.

Any dynamic business has to confront the Death Eaters, Bullies and Dementers in their collective team. Suppression by a few will destroy the enthusiasm and morale of the many, and from this place the vital creative energies just evaporate.

Once people become wary and protective, and start looking over their shoulders they start to more and less live from their “fight or flight” mechanism in their middle or limbic brain system. This part of the brain then effectively shuts down the creative section of the frontal brain where reasoning, logic, spatial analysis, and creativity are mixed in the crucible of human consciousness.

Suppression, control, stress and fear are the true Harry Potter “Death Eaters” sucking the life and creative forces out of any such business. A business can try to re-educate such people but often they are unable to grow and learn and serve the business. Where possible they are best put into a process based role where their talent for control and rigid process is required and enabled. Ownership of any such black and white process such as accounts will make such a personality feel safe and in control.

Where such a personality is not able to be engaged in their competence in this way then the leaders must ring lock them off from the creative pool of talent in some way. As a last resort they may need to understand they are not a good fit for a conscious business that morphs and reinvents itself to ongoing market forces and emerging opportunities as a way of doing business.

Sir Richard Branson has always advocated that the skills one needs as a leader and manager are almost entirely interpersonal ones. His reasoning is aligned to the notion that emotional intelligence and its use to understand and create positive emotional energies in staff and customer experiences is the new business paradigm.

Sir Richard Branson argues that a leader must have the capacity to treat staff and colleagues with the same respect and understanding as you do your most intimate relationships such as family and partner. The emotional empathy and feeling of being valued and seen by the leader activates the personal values and enthusiasm of the employee.

The leader takes an interest in the novelty, the situational adaptation of company values and rules to meet customer issues and problematic experiences. He or she discusses this, instead of criticising this, or suppressing this, so as to gain a clear sense of what could be done to improve the business model.

When employees notice the leaders listening, and then acting on their adaptive experiences, the employee then knows that they are valued, recognised and listened to. They do not need to fear the leaders as suppressive Death Eaters. This empowers the workers to take a risk and to reveal and share their ideas, their observations, and creative impulses. Dementers take flight in the face of such “magic” in the workplace culture.

Harry potter came to realise throughout the journey of his life in Hogwarts that his wand and his book of spells was not his greatest power. He came to learn that his values, his courage to confront the dark forces that evoke fear and suppression, and his positive determined mindset, was the real magic in his life.

I noticed that Anthony Robbins commented at the September 2011 “National Achievers Congress” event in Sydney that business success is 80% mindset, and 20% technique or mechanics. Harry Potter realised this too in his battles and won out in the end. If you want magic in your business then you need to look at the mindset of yourself, your leadership, and your staff.

If your business could do with some Emotional Intelligence training or coaching then contact us and lets discuss how we can assist you in your conscious business evolution.

Have a magical month!!

Kind Regards,

Richard Boyd

Director, Conscious Business Australia

About Us

Conscious Business Australia is uniquely positioned to assist you in your business journey towards the new economy. We transcend traditional old economy business and leadership coaching and consulting models by bringing to bear our innovative and leading edge Conscious Business Methodology.

Our unique combination of skills, insight, experience and methodologies enable us to stand apart from the tired old coaching and consulting “experiences” that still dominate the business world using old economy constructs and principles.

Come across and try the Conscious Business Australia “experience” which is built on the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, design, project management, marketing, channel design, and digital and physical product design/innovation/imitation philosophies. Have a look at our website for more information, for a much more detailed version of newsletter articles, and for further articles and notifications of other courses and events that we run on a regular basis.

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