Creating A Conscious Business: Simple Practices To Help Implement A Business That Feels Good

Published in Forbes:

In my role as an HR professional, integrated life and business coach, and entrepreneur, I am often called to guide organizations and clients to a more conscious way of living and being. What does it mean to be a conscious business and person, and what are the easy steps we can take to practically achieve this?

People are always evolving and changing, and for this reason, they want to work for organizations that do the same and exist to make a difference. Therefore, we realize that organizational health is as important as organizational wealth. A conscious business is, according to author and leadership development advisor at Google Fred Kofman, Ph.D., how organizations build value through values.

This illustrates the shift of organizations toward a values-based, conscious business model that benefits both the employees and the environment. For leaders aiming for this, here are a few simple practices.

1. Create a culture of health and wellness.

In my opinion, there is no activity that brings people together and emits positive energy, good endorphins and the right chemicals better than team sports within a workplace. It is a bonding activity that provides healthy competition and enables people to connect and come together. Having tournaments and team challenges should be part of the health and wellness programming of an organization, as it cultivates an engaged workforce and creates healthier habits at the same time. Brain health is important, and sports can play a huge role in the productivity and health of a workforce.

2. Connect in a collaboration room.

Collaboration rooms are fun spaces where people connect and play. It is in these rooms where co-workers can switch off and build social connections with each other. The better the connection and collaboration-building, the better people work with each other. A collaboration room should include games, a coffee or refreshment bar, and a place to have meaningful conversations.

A Gallup survey asked whether workers have a best friend at work and revealed how important it was to employee performance to have that friendship. Spaces like collaboration rooms are where friendships at work are able to be created.

3. Connect through food and sharing of experiences.

Every quarter, my company celebrates with a potluck where we choose different themes and people share parts of their cultures and memories with us through the bonding experience of food. They bring dishes according to their cultures and explain what the dishes mean to them. This enables connection, and at the same time, we share our recognition awards. Nobody I know of has been sad around shared food and memories at work, and it creates a great bonding and connection experience.

4. Give back to charities, and do good in the community.

Whether it is by donating money to a worthy cause or collecting donations to feed the hungry, a business that places charity and paying it forward as a priority is usually a conscious business. It sends out a message that community is important. We cannot exist alone and in isolation; our community is a part of us. Giving back also makes people feel good that they are donating and sharing with something bigger than themselves.

5. Do business with other conscious businesses.

Building a conscious business is also about the integrity of who we work with and who we do business with. Spending time with stakeholders of ethical businesses who give back imparts the same or similar standards on our own business. Who we spend our time with is important, and this shows that we take our business seriously — and it is not only about profits.

6. Spend time on mindfulness.

Being busy used to be glorified in organizations. However, building time within the day for people to be mindful and breathe is just as important. Thinking and “just being” more helps enhance thinking patterns and brain waves for creativity. Whether this is something you create in the organization through classes or as a practice as a manager or practitioner, an appreciation for mindfulness promotes health and well-being in the organization. Known benefits of meditation and mindfulness include less stress, less reactivity, more creativity and improved focus, to mention a few. This practice contributes to renewed energy and drive among employees.

7. Develop a culture of learning and curiosity.

Creating a culture of learning and curiosity makes it possible for us to learn from our mistakes, ask questions that are important for our business and ourselves and learn what to do differently within our practices toward our customer, each other and ourselves. This deep inquiry shifts people toward willingness to learn from each other.

If we can improve our own practices by just 1% every day, whether through self-care or professional care, then we would have an improvement of 365% for the year. If we compound that amount by all the people in the organization, we would see an organization in which people have improved astronomically. Organizations can encourage this by creating lunch and learns and learning hubs or circles.

8. Make meetings productive.

Meetings can come at an extreme cost in terms of time and resources. We need to look at different ways of doing meetings. Before each meeting, ask, “What is our intention together? What are the key things we want to achieve?” Send out agendas beforehand so people can prepare. Meetings should be creative generation think tanks and short spaces to determine whether we have implemented what we needed.

In many of my clients and organizations, I have witnessed shifts catalyzed by these behaviors that not only increased business performance, but also increased business health. If you want to run a conscious business, you need to be as integrated as possible.

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