Jean-Sébastien Simon, High Performance Coach and lecturer in Conscious Business at ESSEC Business School provides an opening, pathfinder feature on the nature of Conscious Business.
Conscious Business: A new frontier in view by Jean-Sébastien Simon.
In the preface of Fred Kofman’s Conscious Business (2008), Ken Wilber wrote (p. xii) that the Conscious Business concept would be business that takes into account body, mind, and spirit in self, culture and nature. As such, integral business leadership would necessarily use tools that have been developed to best know and master oneself, culture and world.
He went on to express that existing business management theories tended to break down into three wide categories covering the Big Three Landscapes of individual motivation, corporate culture and values, and external objectives, flow patterns and quality control. For Wilber, this meant that traditional business leadership uses these tools in a coordinated and integrated way to achieve maximum results – or else make do with less than optimal results.
Conscious Business leaders, on the other hand, make bold and visionary choices that go far beyond the standards – whether legal, economic, social or political. They actually decide to set the standards, instead of merely follow them. They are visionary leaders in their field. These choices are guided by a strong commitment to Truth, Beauty, Integrity, Justice, Peace, Love and other key transcendent values, which become strong pillars in these challenging times.
CSR, TBL and a new frontier in view
A quarter of a century ago John Elkington coined the term Triple Bottom Line (TBL) to define three key areas necessary for businesses to act responsibly and add value while generating long-term sustainability for society and the ecosystems they operate in.
Companies working with effective CSR policies that serve the TBL add value in the following key areas:
- Profit: The traditional measure of corporate profit—the profit and loss (P&L) account.
- People: Measures how socially responsible an organization has been throughout its operations.
- The Planet: Measures how environmentally responsible a firm has been.
Today, in this accelerated age, it seems that some organizations are willing to go further in their growth and evolution. As we know that profits are necessary for any business to be sustainable, it is also a very limiting concept. In the approach to Conscious Business we propose, we enlarge this notion by using the much more encompassing term: “Prosperity.” Furthermore, it needs to be noted that Prosperity comes as a result when all the other dimensions are taken care of. Prosperity is a result of healthy management.
Conscious Business: Three Ps more
In my research on Conscious Business, and businesses with cutting-edge business practices, I have found to discover that three other “Ps” needed to be taken into account to move the needle even further and increase the positive impact even more.
A key “P” that has been implicit in traditional CSR is the core aspect of Purpose. In other terms: “Why are we in business?” “Why do I get up in the morning?” A Conscious Business makes sure that everybody on board has a clear and explicit sense of purpose.
A second aspect that is not accounted for in CSR policies (or at best, indirectly) is the Psyche. Does the business contribute to the growth of its employees, stakeholders, clients and suppliers? Does it have a positive impact on their development? Does it contribute not only to their mental and physical health and well-being, but actual thriving? These are key questions for a Conscious Business.
A third aspect that needs to be added for a business to move from a simple CSR policy to becoming a Conscious Business is the creation of effective and heartful Processes. Indeed, all the other “Ps” need to be supported, not only by intentions and good words, but by actual processes, practices and procedures that allow to create long-term sustainability in a repeated and cyclical way. Processes can cover the way that decisions are made by the People (integrating more inclusive practices and tapping into collective intelligence), the way Prosperity is created (not only through profits but also through volunteering programs for employees, local positive impact actions, and value-creating partnerships with business partners or civil society agents).
I propose that a Conscious Business, a business that is mindful of these aspects, will operate and monitor by working on and working with the following six dimensions:
To offer a more comprehensive view of Tomorrow’s businesses, here is an expanded view of these six domains, which I call the Flower of Conscious Business:
As you can see, there are five key elements, which all rally around Purpose (the core of why we do what we do). If you don’t know really Why you are doing what you do, it can’t be called Conscious Business. It is what most companies do: unconscious business.
Conscious Business is the sweet spot at the intersection of the six petals of this flower.
In this following series of articles, we will explore each of these six dimensions to Conscious Business, to give you an overview of this emerging field for the business world.
THIS SERIES OF EIGHT FEATURES ON CONSCIOUS BUSINESS CAN BE FOLLOWED WEEKLY FROM SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER 2021 VIA COBS INSIGHTS.
- Link up with Jean-Sébastien Simon via LinkedIn
- View Fred Kofman”s book, Conscious business: How to build value through values
- Read the first in this series of articles Moving with and Beyond CSR: The 6 Ps of Conscious Business
- Discover ESSEC Business School and apply to follow a degree.
Learn more about the Council on Business & Society
- Website: www.council-business-society.org
- Twitter: @The_CoBS
- LinkedIn: the-council-on-business-&-society
The Council on Business & Society (The CoBS), visionary in its conception and purpose, was created in 2011, and is dedicated to promoting responsible leadership and tackling issues at the crossroads of business and society including sustainability, diversity, ethical leadership and the place responsible business has to play in contributing to the common good.
In 2020, member schools now number 7, all “Triple Crown” accredited AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA and leaders in their respective countries.