Key Indicators: Who is Calling for More Conscious Awareness in Business?

By Jeff Klein

In my post last week on Conscious Awareness, I defined that concept as “a process of recognizing what is going on inside and out, the effects of decisions and actions, and the interaction between a complex array of factors and forces.” I highlighted its function as a powerful tool for transcending unconscious patterns, fostering an expanded perspective and openness to new possibilities.

I also suggested that Conscious Awareness is an essential element in the processes of building trust, bridging different perspectives and cultures, engaging stakeholders, and sustaining collaboration, all of which are increasingly important in business.

Question: Who is calling for more Conscious Awareness in business?

The short answer: Everyone.

By Everyone I mean people from every stakeholder group – customer/citizens, employees, investors, communities, entrepreneurs – and from all walks of life. They may not be explicitly calling for more Conscious Awareness in business, but they are calling for attention to a more complex array of factors and for the outcomes that Conscious Awareness fosters.



Customers/Citizens: The 2010 Edelman goodpurpose Study reveals the following indicators:

86% of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests.

  • Social purpose continues to rank as the number one deciding factor for global consumers above design, innovation and brand loyalty.
  • 64% believe it is no longer enough for corporations to give money; they must integrate good causes into their everyday business.

Employees: In a 2010 global study of more than 20,000 workers, Towers Watson identify an emerging new organizational paradigm, based on:

  • Fostering self-reliance on the part of employees.
  • Creating a more personalized work experience for segments of the workforce, aligned with how people add value to the business.
  • Strengthening agility and flexibility in the organization’s structure, processes, management style and delivery of workplace programs.

In his best-selling book Drive, author Dan Pink identifies three factors that lead to better performance in the workplace:  autonomy, mastery, and purpose. It takes more than money to motivate, and One size fits all is evolving to what works best.

Investors + Business Leaders: Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz recently called on business leaders to put their $1 trillion+ in cash reserves to work for the economy, specifically to hire workers. Schultz and Warren Buffet are leading a public call for Shared Sacrifice. And Buffet is part of an ongoing project at the Aspen Institute focused on Overcoming Short-termism: A Call for a More Responsible Approach to Investment and Business Management.

Entrepreneurs: 442 small to medium sized companies with $2.18 B in revenue in 54 industries have become Certified B Corporations – a new type of corporation, which “uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  B Corps are unlike traditional businesses because they meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards; meet higher legal accountability standards; and actively build business constituency for good business.”

These are just a few of the signs that our collective understanding of the nature of human needs and motivations are more that financial and material and that the role of business in society is to deliver more than return on investment.

The Bottom Line

Conscious Awareness is a capacity for reflecting on what is, which facilitates ongoing adaptation. The more we recognize the emerging shifts, the more the shifts will emerge and evolve. Conscious Awareness is a personal skill and a collective capacity we can practice and develop.

If the financial performance of companies is an indicator of the benefits of thinking in systems and delivering value to stakeholders, then the comparative financial performance of the 100 Best Places to Work may be a good indicator of the benefits of applying Conscious Awareness in Business.

Conscious Leaders in business recognize these advantages and purposefully cultivate Conscious Culture in their companies. In the next two weeks, I will focus on Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture.


Jeff Klein is CEO of Working for Good, a company which activates, produces and facilitates mission-based, Stakeholder Engagement Marketing™ campaigns and Conscious Culture development programs.

Jeff is a founding trustee of Conscious Capitalism, Inc. and authored the award-winning book, Working for Good: Making a Difference While Making a Living, to support conscious entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, leaders and change agents at work. He will be offering a 6-week tele-course entitled It’s Just Good Business, beginning September 22, 2011.

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