The Five Conscious CEO Practices for Developing Conscious Culture

by: Steven Bowman
Copyright 2008 by Conscious Governance.
All rights  reserved. You may forward this in its entirety to anyone you wish.

A truly conscious organisation is one where the CEO chooses to embrace a  culture of consciousness and aims to operate consciously across the  broad spectrum of the business concerns –  from strategic planning, to recruiting, to operating systems and  processes, to developing the vision that guides the organisation.  This article describes five practices that conscious CEO can implement  to create a balanced integration of organizational vision, strategic and  operational realities  by encouraging and nurturing higher levels of conscious behaviour and  attitude among staff and stakeholders.  

1. Describe Your Desired Culture.

This is not a group effort, rather an understanding by you of what  you wish to create, consciously.  As a CEO, first and foremost you must recognize and acknowledge what the  culture is like now.

  • Why is it the way it is and how you have allowed it to be that  way?
  • What impact is it having on your business performance?
  • What is driving it to be that way?
  • What is it going to take for it to change?

Next, you need to be able to describe what kind of culture you  want, and how does this connect to your business strategy and vision.

In describing the culture you wish to create, there are five key  areas that you should consider that will facilitate a deeper  understanding of this culture

Vision, values and strategy: Take your  organisation's Vision statement, and ask yourself,

  • What is the conscious culture I wish to create that will drive  the Vision of the organisation?
  • What is the culture I wish to create that is in keeping with my  values, and what I perceive to be the most expansive for my  organisation?

Be aware of the strategic direction of your organisation,  and again ask yourself the question","What is the culture I wish to  create that will drive the strategic plan of the organisation"

Accountability and Transparency: Ask yourself

  • What messages do I want to put out regarding accountability and  transparency?
  • What disclosure will I provide regarding processes, procedures and  assumptions?
  • What am I willing to commit to?
  • We have found many instances where leadership has not held staff  to account for clear performance outcomes,  and standards are variable due to lack of individual accountability.

Internal Relationships: Often sadly lacking in  many organisations, what is the culture around internal  relationships that you wish to create? Is it about silos, team work, do  you want staff to treat other staff as if they were customers?

External Relationships: What type of  relationships do you wish to facilitate with external parties?

Creative Edge and Innovation: How much  innovation do you wish your staff to show?  How important is being at the creative edge to you and the organisation?  We have worked with organisations where staff have  taken a fixed point of view on how the world is in relation to  customers, competitors and their job and therefore cannot see anything  that does not fit these fixed points of view.  They don't seem to connect the idea and the notion of innovation with  their responsibilities and position.

2. Lead with Questions

A tool for you to begin to create your culture with awareness is to  live in the question. Conscious leaders use questions to encourage full participation and teamwork,  to inspire creativity and encourage outside-the-box thinking, to empower  others and to solve problems resourcefully etc. When you learn to live  in the question rather than  being besieged by the problems or become vested in finding answers and  solutions, you are able to create your culture more consciously.

CEOs, through asking questions, can cultivate a culture in which  questions are welcomed, assumptions are investigated and new  possibilities to solve problems are explored.  Questions promote an inquisitive way of life in an organisation, and  such inquisitive behaviors build an innovative climate, a culture of  accountability and a truly conscious organisation.

3. Consciously Model the Way: Mindset, Behaviour, Symbols and Processes

As a CEO you will have to become a role model of what you would like the culture to be created. This can be done by establishing mindset,  behaviour, symbols and processes with regard to the way staff,  stakeholders, and customers should be treated and the way business  objectives should be pursued. Your behaviour and your decisions send a  message to your staff about how people are expected to behave, which in turns set the cultural standard for others to follow.  To consciously model the way, continually ask the following questions...

  • What mindset is guiding my actions as a leader? What mindset do  I want my staff to adopt?
  • What would it take for me, through my behaviour, to create an  environment that promotes this culture?
  • What would it take for me to create symbols that support this  culture?
  • What would it take for us to develop processes to support this  culture?

4. Promote a Common Vision

Conscious leaders create and articulate vision and strategy, which  can provide the cohesion that enables all people to, at the very least, understand why they are doing what they do. Conscious leaders share this  information freely and articulate the vision of the organisation to  those who have an interest in the organisation. Continually ask the following questions...

  • Do I communicate my values and vision in the things I do, how I  spend time, and what I consider important?
  • What would it take for me to articulate a vision of the  organisation when things are unpredictable?
  • What would it take for me to share power and information and  still maintain accountability?

5. Foster Collaboration and Build Spirited Teams.

Conscious leaders actively involve others and empower staff and  stakeholders to embrace infinite possibilities and function in a state  of creative expansion that lets them go over their limits everyday.  Fostering collaboration and building spirited teams can be initiated by:

  • Willingness to receive all points of view by welcoming and  hearing all perspectives, without resisting or reacting.
  • Supporting staff to envision that there is no limit to what  they could create by facilitating change constantly and encourage staff  to discover more expansive and innovative ways of doing things.

Related Reading: The Role of the CEO in Creating Conscious Culture


About theAuthor

Steven Bowman is an international speaker,  best-selling author and global leader in providing practical frameworks and comprehensive approaches  to assist Boards and Senior Executive Teams to reach higher levels of  conscious awareness in governance, leadership, strategy and risk.  Authors of Conscious Leadership-the Key to Success, and Leading Yourself  to Money with Consciousness.

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