What is a Conscious Company?

I get this question a lot – “What is a conscious company?”

Conscious companies or businesses are entities that choose to develop and follow a business strategy based on core values that benefit people as well as the world. These values take into account not just the local social and environmental landscapes but also seek to incorporate the concerns of global community. How is this accomplished? Conscious businesses seek to use self-awareness as one of their standard operating practices. Ideally, a conscious company is seeking to align it’s organizational values, goals, intentions, actions, strategic decisions and its own quirks with larger industry dynamics and global concerns.

The underlying intention of these companies is to Do No Harm, meaning that the products or services provided by these companies should not be inherently harmful to humans or the environment.

Many businesses who see themselves as “conscious companies” (Starbucks, Whole Foods, Tom’s Shoes, etc.) also adhere to the principles of a triple bottom line model by aiming to provide positive value to people, the planet, and the company’s profits.

How can a company start this process? Jeff DeGraff, author of The Conscious Company and Other Myths, recommends asking three questions:

What is the mind of your company? If you had to locate the central nervous system of your organization in a particular sector, where would that be? The most conscious companies will have a neural center that is fresh, diverse, and dynamic. If the mind of your company is headquartered in your senior executive team, then your company isn’t very conscious because it has a very limited purview, a built-in myopia. Try to build a neural center with the widest view possible.

Is your company self-aware? A true sign of self-reflexivity is the ability to make sense of the things that happen within and around you. The most effective way to do this is by coming up with a narrative arc. What is the story of your company? And can your organization tell that story to itself–and to others?

How does your company integrate its parts into a perceived whole? Successful groups of all kinds–families, teams, organizations–bring together their individual units with a guiding principle. Businesses too often rely on empty, superficial concepts like leadership or culture as unifying forces. Consciousness is not the same thing as culture–it’s something greater than that. How does your company sync itself up?

Want to learn more about what defines a conscious company and how to become one? Visit Jeff DeGraff’s full article at http://www.inc.com/jeff-degraff/the-conscious-company-and-other-myths.html?cid=email.