Creating a conscious business is not possible without conscious leadership. Purposefully applying conscious leadership practices for the benefit of all is one of the six conscious business principles described in the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership. The conscious leadership practices presented in this book provide a framework—noticing what is going on, setting intention, and acting responsibly—that leaders can apply individually and collectively in their organizations. Leading consciously is a prerequisite for creating a conscious business.
Leaders of conscious businesses clearly articulate their individual purpose and inspire others with a higher purpose for their organization. Barry-Wehmiller, a $1.5 billion global manufacturer of capital equipment and provider of engineering consulting and manufacturing services with a focus on truly human leadership, defined its purpose as being “in business so that all our team members have meaningful and fulfilling lives.… We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people.” Bob Chapman, chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, has described truly human leadership to many aspiring leaders including in an inspiring Ted Talk. Truly human leaders are also conscious leaders.
Purpose is not about being the biggest or the best at something but is about doing something that really matters beyond the products and services offered by the organization. Neither is it about being purpose driven without attention on revenue and profit. An organization that fails to deliver acceptable financial performance will be unable to fulfill its purpose in the long run. However, a higher purpose is about something greater than the products, services, and financial performance of the business. It is about acting responsibly for the benefit of all.
Yvon Chouinard is founder and owner of Patagonia, a supplier of environmentally friendly clothes and equipment for silent sports, none of which require a motor and where reward comes in moments of connection between people and nature. In his book, Let My People Go Surfing, Yvon Chouinard explains why he was in business: “True, I wanted to give money to environmental causes. But even more, I wanted to create in Patagonia a model other businesses could look to in their own searches for environmental stewardship and sustainability, just as our pitons and ice axes were models for other equipment manufacturers.” This purpose is supported by a mission statement: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis…. We’re in business to save our home planet.”
Although pessimistic about the fate of the natural world, with a worsening environmental crisis, Yvon Chouinard aspired to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis, believing in the need to reach out to other companies to join the quest to save this planet. The purpose of Patagonia has grown far beyond environmentally friendly products built on a commitment to cause no unnecessary harm and sustained by successful business performance. Yvon Chouinard and Bob Chapman are exemplars of conscious leadership in a conscious business.