What does Business have to do with Consciousness?
When we, the CCG Advisory Team meet every other Monday evening we spare some time to explore one key question. Last Monday we found ourselves deeply invested in an intriguing conversation about the question:
What does business have to do with consciousness?
In this blogpost we share aspects, bits and pieces of that deep, rich and diverse conversation. Our intention is – one more time – not to give and find “the answer”, but to offer new views, insights and inspiration for your own exploration.
Take 1: Business is an expression of consciousness
The business of the universe is evolution – including that of our own consciousness. And all our actions, relations, busyness and business are a pure expression of evolution and consciousness itself.
Business is also an expression of creation, action and relations. Reframing busyness as a combination of action in relation, it is maybe the most natural state we can be in.
Take 2: The business of business is the exchange of value to create new value
Everyone will agree that business is about value creation, but there is a very crucial distinction: Conscious business creates value that adds to the whole while Unconscious business extracts value from the whole.
But how do we know whether we add to or extract from the whole? Let´s take it like this: A partial view is likely to do be extractive, a holistic view is more likely to add to the whole.
Whenever we are connected and in resonance with the world within and around us we will be able to find an appropriate response. Actually, this is even the point of Zen: being able to respond in an appropriate way. How to be in resonance in a wholistic way is another major topic, we will get back to some time soon.
And this is the key purpose of Leaders, be it in business, politics or any other field: to find appropriate answers in often complex and chaotic situations.
3: Business and Consciousness leads to: Being aware, being present and being responsible
One key aspect of consciousness is to cultivate a state of being aware, being awake and being present. With regards to business, we added another aspect: to notice not only what is going on right now around and within us – but to anticipate the consequences of our actions for ourselves and the world around us. And everything matters as often tiny but significant things will bring along change.
Consciousness vs Conscience
Consciousness itself is neutral, there is no morality or ethics connected to it per se. Nevertheless, Consciousness often is related to being in some specific way by doing good and being mindful about the environment, other people’s feelings or our body, etc.
Shantena shared the fact, that in Italian, his mother tongue, the word for consciousness and conscience is the same. This being so then maybe conscience is correlated with consciousness – as soon as you are present and clear and attentive you are more likely to anticipate and care about (negative) consequences.
Take 4: Consciousness is necessary to deal with complexity in business
The wheel of business is spinning faster and faster. Interesting enough we see again and again that “speed kills”.
Especially in complex and unknown situations we are asked to slow down, take-in, stop for a moment and form a state of “creative suspension”, a term coined by David Peat, a wholistic physicist who researched into the question of complexity and chaos.
This pointing to “non-doing”, the key element of Taoism which doesn’t really mean to do nothing, but not to superimpose our will on the world, but rather respond adequately to an emergent life.
Take 5: Consciousness leads to a new understanding of business
Being Conscious means to question and challenge our key business assumptions of competition, me-or-you vs. me-and-you and massive exploitation of the whole.
- Life is not a zero-sum-game but is co-evolving, co-creating and adding to each other.
- Survival of the fittest was never survival of the strongest but survival of the most adequate answer to life.
- Research tells us that life and societies have evolved through cooperation, not competition. In other words, we could call it survival of the fittest relationships.
Looking deeper we can see that many of our business models undermine the very way nature works, thus resulting into destruction and extraction rather than mutual generative value creation.
Take 6: A lack of consciousness makes us slaves of our own business
Business is our very own creation, but eventually we become slaves of that own creation. Engaged in that unhealthy (business-)relationship our business becomes who we are. Burning out can be one way of losing our present awareness, being torn away by our very own creations.
Take 7: Business has become abstract and analytic – consciousness will connect us with life.
We have a strong left-brain bias towards analytics and language and the masculine. The right brain, representing the wholistic and feminine world view has been neglected. We can see and feel it in the world of business, mostly based on numbers, analytics, partial views, competition and aggression.
What comes with this is the fact that abstraction became the dominant way of thinking and acting, more engaged in maps than in real territories. Having forgotten about life itself we started to take the representation for the “thing” itself. Only what can be measured is of value, therefore everything needs to become a product.
We have traded the joy of being with the security of having
One root cause is the rise of modern science: it is based on repeatable experiments, but reality never repeats itself.
The problem is not that we live in a materialistic world but in an abstract, reductionist, digital world – having lost relation with earth, matter and now. Being materialistic in that deeper sense is a highly spiritual act.
The thing is: we as human beings’ function through both co-existing sides. A deeper consciousness increases access, integration and awareness of both hemispheres
Take 8: Consciousness in business shows as beauty and joy
There are things we understand and things we simply know. What we do not understand is why something is beautiful, but we know when something is beautiful. Beauty, just like elegance is an expression of harmony, resonance and adequateness, effortlessness, and “nature” is taking care of that itself. Thus, we sense beauty through consciousness and vice versa.
Take 9: Where and when does a business start?
Businesses oftentimes form in our consciousness long before they manifest as an actual company, brand, service or product. It makes sense to cultivate the space of consciousness that our ideas come from and manifest in the world.