CONSCIOUS BUSINESS By Fred Kofman
In this book Fred Kofman sets up a model of a conscious business that will serve as a benchmark for emerging businesses. A conscious being is awake and mindful. To live consciously is to be open and receptive to the inner and outer worlds keeping in mind the surrounding circumstances and how we react to them in ways that meet our needs, values and goals. When we are not conscious, we are driven by instincts and habitual responses that may not meet our needs. A conscious business encourages all its stakeholders to be mindful. Employees are to study the world with rigorous scientific reasoning and to reflect on their part in it with equal moral reasoning. A conscious business promotes peace and contentment among its employees, unity and solidarity within the community and goal achievement by the organization. It follows that conscious employees are an organization’s greatest asset while unconscious employees are its riskiest liability. What makes an employee produce best for the business are great managers and his productivity is determined by his relationship with his immediate supervisor. Good leaders translate individual potential into collective performance.. The most important task for a business is to develop a conscious culture. Culture underpins an organization. It makes possible the implementation of a company’s strategy, the meeting of its goals and the accomplishment of its mission. Changing a culture is very difficult and cannot be done by fiat. It can be done only by adopting new behaviors. In his foreword to Kofman’s book, Ken Wilber points out that consciousness operates through three realities - self, culture and nature. Self refers to the inner world which can be accessed by meditation and introspection. Culture refers to the world of common values, shared understanding and common meanings. Nature refers to the external world of facts and events. Conscious living would consider all three worlds when planning any activity.. A conscious business takes into consideration body, mind and spirit in self, culture and nature. An integral business leader would use all these in a consolidated and integral manner for achieving maximum results. No one can afford to ignore these realities because they actively shape events. Kofman lists and compares seven negative attitudes that underlie unconscious organizations and seven opposite and positive attitudes that characterize conscious organizations. They are: Unconditional blame versus unconditional responsibility, essential selfishness versus essential integrity, ontological arrogance versus ontological humility, manipulative communication versus authentic communication, narcissistic negotiation versus constructive negotiation, negligent coordination versus impeccable coordination, and emotional incompetence versus emotional mastery. All in all, Kofman’s book is a fine read and outlines all the attributes that make up a conscious business. Yet creating conscious businesses is no easy task and it may be easier for well-heeled companies to succeed than their poorer counterparts.