The author of this book, Fred Kofman serves as the Vice President of Executive Development of LinkedIn. As a part of one of his workshops on LinkedIn, he spoke to professionals around the world on ‘Conscious Business’ and seeing the excellent response, went on to write a detailed book on it.
This book is a guiding light to anyone entering the corporate world, climbing the corporate ladder, or for business leaders and resonates with our times when we don’t associate working with true living and fulfilling our purpose.
It brings us back to our roots, when we took decisions not just from our mind but also from our heart.
Conscious Bussiness : How to Build Value Through Values shows us how to do work that our conscience would approve of and would add some real value to society at large.
The author believes that conscious business is one made from your passions and inner beliefs and aligns well with your values as an individual and as a company. He defines a good business person as one of integrity.
Conscious businesses attract people and enjoy a loyal customer following for years. More than just aggressive marketing, it is about connecting with the customers on a deeper level and understanding their needs.
Here are 3 key learnings from this book:
1. Unconditional Responsibility
‘Being’ rather than ‘doing’ is what makes a good leader. A conscious business leader encourages his/her team members to think responsibly by first acting on principles of unconditional responsibility and setting an example.
When you personally feel responsible for everything happening around you and not just expect and blame others for inefficiency, it motivates the entire team to work as hard as you in meeting the business goals. A good leader reflects on his/her actions and encourages everyone to do that. It is the only way we can avoid mistakes and learn from them.
Listening to others is also an essential attribute of leadership. If there is a friendly and flexible culture in an organization then the smallest of problems can be solved at the root level before they become serious problems for the whole organization.
Unconditional responsibility also means that employees can always depend on the leader in times of crisis, the leader should be the driving force to take the company out of such dire occasions and not be someone who may just further delegate work and not participate in the happenings at all.
2. Impeccable Commitments and Managing Emotions
All actions should be accountable in an organization. A conscious business emphasizes on the need to stick to commitments and deliver results.
Commitments should only be made if they are achievable and the people making them are fully invested in them, and not just for appearances’ sake. The company should see and ensure if sufficient time is there to meet them so that employees are not rushed so much that they get exhausted trying to meet the commitments and compromise on the quality of the work.
The book also talks about managing our emotions in the workplace. Self-awareness and self-acceptance are the first steps to manage our emotions. It is possible that sometimes things will bother you which need not be addressed immediately and which can be solved by just being aware and conscious about our feelings.
The book also says that even our rational decisions are influenced by our emotions and we should not keep suppressing our emotions. If one feels that an emotion is serious enough to hinder your work, one should go ahead and discuss it with leaders in the company.
A good leader would understand and empathize with you and would help to reduce your stress. Nothing should be more important to a company than the employee’s well being and longevity in the company.
3. Authentic Communication and Unflinching Integrity
Fred Kofman, the author of this book, talks a lot about how good communication really bridges the gaps in organizations and provides a healthy work environment. Work is like a second home and what makes a home – a safe place where you can share your feelings with your family.
You should be able to do that in the workplace and the onus of that lies on the leaders. If such an environment doesn’t exist, one must not hesitate to express their ideas and inputs which they feel will help the company.
In all times, integrity is the crucial element of conscious businesses. The ability to stick to our values is often rare, with the rampant corruption and frauds that happen in business, like the Enron scandal or the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal. The companies that follow unlawful or unethical business practices can make a profit temporarily but end up being sued and losing in the long run.
Consumers today are smart and cannot be fooled easily. A bad reputation can break a successful business empire and no marketing efforts would be able to bring it back after committing unethical practices. Customers today want to be associated with companies that share and stand for their own values.
The book also teaches us to embrace humility and have patience.
The 12 Transformations On The Way to Conscious Business
The author Fred Kofman shares the below 12 transformations which anyone can take to take themselves and their organisation towards being a Conscious Business.
- From blaming to owning: stop acting like a mere victim of circumstances out of your control and take charge of your life. (Responsibility)
- From winning to meaning: stop pursuing only competitive goals and realize that happiness comes from pursuing a noble purpose through ethical means. (Wisdom)
- From knowing to learning: stop trying to prove that you’re always right and open up to new possibilities. (Humility)
- From judging to understanding: stop seeing people through your mental filters and put yourself in their shoes. (Compassion)
- From avoiding to confronting: stop suppressing uncomfortable information and face reality. (Courage)
- From pleasing to truth-telling: stop altering your story to be liked by others and start telling the truth to be liked by yourself. (Honesty)
- From controlling to considering: stop telling people what to do and take into account what they want to do. (Respect)
- From taking to trading: stop negotiating win-lose and look for ways in which everybody can be better off through an exchange. (Creativity)
- From defaulting to delivering: stop defrauding your creditors and honor your promises unconditionally. (Integrity)
- From indulging to investing: stop seeking immediate gratification and postpone pleasure for the sake of happiness. (Discipline)
- From complying to committing: stop obeying as if you had no choice and choose to do what you do fully. (Commitment)
- From bossing to leading: stop managing people through external rewards and punishments and inspire them with a dignifying purpose. (Vision)
Fred brings leadership language to a level I’ve never seen before. There are examples of dialogue between people with competing priorities which are very practical and show the principles in the book being applied. The book is well-grounded cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually and transcends the business world. Conscious Business provides the principles, practices, and tools to become a real leader, both inside and outside of work.