In philosophy and science, consciousness is known as the hard problem. No one definitely knows what it is or how it is produced. Yet, our consciousness is the source of our performance. By developing our consciousness, we can increase our performance.
Aligning financial, social and environmental purpose, known as the Triple Bottom Line, has developed over the last three decades from being an aspiration mostly found in corporate marketing and PR literature, to becoming an increasingly demanding risk management and reporting requirement. When implemented to its full potential, it now offers forward-thinking businesses a deep pool of opportunities for developing a competitive advantage.
Whether we like it or not, this decade will bring significant transformation to our society and organisations. The latest IPCC report is a stark wake-up call, for many, to this fact. But do we have the leaders who have developed the capability to lead people through the transformation? Our current progress in tackling climate change would suggest not.
The poem ‘Hieroglyphic Stairway’, by Drew Dellinger, had a significant impact on me when I read it a few years ago. It’s about a man who lies awake at 3.23 am because his great-great-grandchildren ask him questions in his dreams, such as: “What did you do when the earth was unravelling? What did you do once you knew?” What if one day my grandchildren ask me, “what did you do when you knew?” Would my answer be, “I did nothing”?
There is currently a lot of talk about conscious leadership. But what is it? Conscious leadership means different things to different people. In philosophy and science, consciousness is known as the ‘hard problem’. No one knows what consciousness is and how it comes about. So, it’s not surprising there isn’t a consensus view about conscious leadership.
Leaders have historically taken their learning from the Industrial Revolution and created organisations that operate like machines. But the machine-like organisation is no longer fit for purpose. Leaders now need to take their learning from nature to create organisations that operate like ecosystems.
For some people, capitalism is the most efficient way to distribute scarce resources, promote equality, foster co-operation and inspire innovation. For others, capitalism is responsible for the degradation of the environment, an increase in inequality, and decreased mental health. What if capitalism could regenerate all forms of capital such as environmental, social and psychological as well as financial?