Cultivating Brilliance In a Conscious Business

By Jeff Klein, author of Working for Good

As I understand it, diamonds are the result of coal combined with plants, fungi, and bacteria under extreme pressure over a really long time. The brilliant multi-faceted gems we know as diamonds are the result of a refined process of cutting and polishing.

As I reflect on the process of launching Working for Good over the past few months, and of the work we are doing with each other and with our clients and projects, including the Catalyzing Conscious Capitalism (C3) Summit, Natural Enlightenment, Generocity Partners, and Compassion Happens, I recognize a similar process of pressure applied over time, accompanied by cutting and polishing. While the process in this case may have more of an ebb and flow between pressure and reflection, the metaphor of the diamond and cultivating brilliance feels true to me.

In the case of a Conscious Business (at least, we intend and aspire to work in a way that can be called Conscious), we recognize the effect of the pressure, cutting, and polishing on ourselves, each other, our collaborators, clients, and others who we touch through our work. We explicitly engage in explorations of how we can refine and enhance our process – to apply pressure, cut, and polish in different ways, with different intensities – or even to change our process more dramatically.

While I have always focused attention on how my presence and actions can facilitate my colleagues, collaborators, and others to learn, grow, and develop, as I more fully embody the role of CEO (thanks to my team who truly appointed me to play this role), I deeply recognize that cultivating brilliance is among the principal roles of a leader – in business or otherwise. Coincidentally, the focus of our business is in cultivating brilliance – presence, creativity, connection, collaboration, etc. in and through business. And all of our clients and projects are directly and explicit focused on this to a significant degree.

The theme of the 2010 C3 Summit – Exploring the Edges of Conscious Leadership – is catalyzing energized conversation and rich engagement with the event and its development process. Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Seventh Generation, who enthusiastically accepted our invitation, was surprised and delighted when I told him I wasn’t looking for him to make a presentation, but to engage in an authentic conversation with other corporate leaders and visionaries. Jean Houston, who will play a magical role in the Summit again this year, commented that what we have developed is “the kind of program that does not bore God.” And my friend and teacher Gabrielle Roth, who will support us with embodied experience proclaimed “It sounds fascinating and I am at your service.”

As I think about it now the C3 Summit is designed to create pressure (very explicitly) and through facilitated conversations, to engage participants in a process of reflection and refinement, ideally leading to more of their brilliance shining through when we emerge through the final celebration.

The process of facilitating the emergence of Natural Enlightenment – which my friend Peter Baumann has been cultivating for more than a decade – through a booklet, a book, and other media, is very much one of applying pressure, cutting, and polishing. Writing and producing a book or other expression of complex ideas is definitely a process of cultivating brilliance. And, at times, intensely pressurized!

For the past several years I have written monthly reflections – looking back at the main themes and lessons of the prior month. And for much of last year and continuing into the beginning of this year I wrote multiple blog postings each week, reflecting more frequently. For the past several months I have been so fully immersed in the work represented by the preceding reflections, that I have barely posted on my blog or updated my Facebook or Twitter status. As I think about this, I recognize that I have been under pressure. I see it as part of the process of hardening the carbon and facilitating its transformation into beautiful, radiant, and resilient diamonds. While in nature the process is sequential – pressure over time creating the rough diamond, followed by cutting then polishing – for us the process is iterative and sometimes simultaneous.

This afternoon I had the great pleasure of meeting in person Kristin and David Morelli, whom I had met virtually through their internet radio program, Everything is Energy. The resonance and reflection I shared with them was a powerful reminder of how we can cultivate brilliance for ourselves and with others with kindness, generosity, and ease.

Pressure has its place. And so does flow.


About Jeff Klein: As CEO + Chief Activation Officer of Working for Good® Jeff Klein produces collaborative, multi-sector, Cause Alliance Marketing® programs that drive social and environmental change while addressing the business objectives of alliance partners. He is a founding director of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and is producing a campaign for O.N.E. Drinks to educate health care practitioners, mothers, and others about the health benefits of coconut water.

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