Cultivating Leader Self Awareness

I believe it was Srikumar Rao (Columbia Business School Professor) who said, “Companies today need to be the Best For The World instead of the Best In The World.”

I recently had the opportunity to sit in a circle dialogue with eight CEO/CFO’s of mid-size companies when I asked, “So, what does it really mean to be the best company for the world instead of the best company in the world?”  The conversation that resulted from that one question gave me confidence that our business world is changing and that business leaders have both the desire and strength, and that they are cultivating the inner knowing to improve both their organizations and the world.

Awareness is shifting…

We’re moving away from the key measurement of a company’s success being its stock price and the opinions that it’s up to the non-profits to do good for the world.  Although profitability is essential for all business success, company leaders are beginning to realize they can make transparent, conscious choices for good and still be successful.

An inner knowing is awakening…

The leaders in our circle dialogue spoke about their desire to make a difference and what making a difference would look like for their companies and in their personal lives. They spoke concepts that you rarely heard in business five years ago - like showing gratitude, re-igniting their passion for life, being more authentic,  building trust in the work place, leading their companies as a community, and the interconnectedness of their companies to their value chain partners, their employees and their communities..

Many of these leaders had been very successful in business.  Most made a lot of money and had reached the top of their game and many now had feelings of boredom and unfulfillment. Some had lost their families due to their choices or the pressures of their success. We talked about who they were in the past, today, and who they wanted to become tomorrow.  We talked about how most of them had focused on changing things outside of themselves and had lost some deep part of them in the process.

Passion and action is building…

Before the dialogue ended, shifts began to emerge in the group.  They acknowledged that by continually managing things around them, kept themselves separate.  They began to realize that the businesses they lead were just a reflection of themselves – their company cultures, their policies, the way they treated their employees and their partners.  Some were not happy with what they saw– others felt so much more could have been done differently or changed for the positive.  When they saw their business as their own reflection, it was a gift to their awakening.  As a result, they realized the value and importance of focusing on their own consciousness.  They realized how their businesses were coming from them, impacted by their emotions, conversations, their attitudes, and their decisions.  What’s most universal is most personal – who you are as a person and a leader is truly reflected in your company’s values and culture.

When we allow ourselves to take the time to unite with our own sacredness, how we see the world begins to shift.  Everything around us becomes an opportunity and a blessing.  Rather than waking up thinking about the heaviness of the day and the problems we must solve, we feel a sense of excitement and open ourselves up to an entirely different set of questions:  Who can I serve today?  How can I make our workplace a happy place for our employees and serve our customers better?  What can I do to improve the stakeholder value for everyone (our employees, our value chain partners, industry partners, community, and investors)?  We begin to understand that win/win solutions can be achieved for all and work becomes a playground.

Is consciousness easy?  No it isn’t - and it’s easy to fall back into your old world and way of doing things.  But with commitment, leaders today are learning mindfulness tools, conscious conversation, and conscious business tools to bring their organizations into a new way of doing business – consciously.

Change is coming…

In a conversation several years ago with Peter Senge, he stated to me that knowledge without focused action was not very useful.  I pondered on this statement for some time, because I used to be one who continually gathered more information and experiences, but rarely had the courage to take my knowledge into action.  I had not understood my own sacredness - my own perfection, and that it was not about having all the information available, but in believing in myself and stepping forward to embrace the changes that I knew were possible.  This is what Strategic Crossroads is about – coaching and consulting with leaders to bring the best in them and in their organizations forward.

I was so inspired by the leaders in our dialogue group for sitting, for listening, for speaking their hearts, for trusting, and finally for achieving the breakthroughs that resulted in huge shifts in consciousness for each of them.  The world is a better place because of them and the conversation we had that day!

For a conversation with Lynda, call or e-mail:  (208) 384-8573 or lynda@strategiccrossroads.com
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