This week's article is the fifth in a six or seven week series. Each week, I'm publishing one of the chapters of a document I'm in the process of writing; a 'manifesto' for what I call "The Thought Revolution". Chapter 3 of the manifesto is a vision for the future of our species. It goes without saying that these outline visions are incomplete, and contain some big gaps. This is merely a first draft, a stake in the ground. As the vision evolves, it will be the work of many hands. Here's part 3 of chapter 3 – Organisational clarity: Awakened Business…
The Thought Revolution
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
Management consultant and writer
3.2 Organisational clarity: Awakened Business
This section contains an outline vision for the future of organisations, business and commerce. But first, an ‘overview diagnosis’ of the current state of some of the more damaging impacts of businesses lost in the outside-in illusion:
Everyone gets caught up in the outside-in misunderstanding from time to time, so it stands to reason that this misunderstanding shows up in the cultures of businesses and other organisations. And while some companies intuitively work more from an ‘inside-out’ understanding, others are relentlessly ‘outside-in’ in their orientation. ‘Outside-in’ business, taken to an extreme, can lead to short-term, “profit before people” thinking. The idea that our sense of freedom, security and wellbeing can come from money is one of the most damaging instances of the outside-in superstition. Feelings of greed, need and lack (whether individual, on a corporate scale, or at the level of an entire market) are often a signal that a person's (or a company’s or a society’s) thinking has become dangerously corrupted.
Reality check: “Hang on a second!” I hear you cry. “Are you saying it’s not OK to make a lot of money, play at a high level and defeat the competition? Are you saying that if we ignore our bills and think happy thoughts, everything will be OK?”
Absolutely not. Here are a few baselines…
– Money can be an incredibly useful tool for facilitating the exchange of goods and services and creating value
– A spirit of healthy competition can be a powerful motivator, often inspiring superb performance
– “Denial” can be one of the more dangerous forms that superstitious, outside-in thinking takes
And… money is one of the most misunderstood substances on the planet; one that a lot of people have a lot of crazy thinking about. Once again: The idea that our sense of freedom, security and wellbeing can come from money is one of the most damaging instances of the outside-in superstition. And while the unhappy lives of countless celebrities, CEOs and lottery winners should be enough to disabuse us of this illusion, our cultural hypnosis is remarkably persistent. When a person or organisation makes profits more important than people, the environment, or their own integrity, it's a sign that they’re lost in a misunderstanding. They're out of touch with their wisdom, their sanity and their humanity. Whether we're talking about the tobacco industry's promotion of cigarettes as a health-product, the devastation of the South-American rain-forests to create hamburgers, or the changes to the USA's financial services industry that resulted in the early 21st-century global financial crisis; the outside-in misunderstanding leads to individual suffering and corporate irresponsibility.
The outline vision
R Buckminster Fuller famously showed that humanity already has the resources necessary for everyone on the planet to prosper without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone. Awakened Humanity looks to long-term sustainability, cooperation and healthy progress. Successful ‘awakened businesses’ are run on ‘clarity cultures’, with everyone from leadership to the shop-floor understanding the principles behind CLARITY. The combined impact of wisdom, wellbeing and resilience mean that they're able to find solutions to many of the problems that plagued outside-in businesses in the past, unlocking vast reserves of innovative thinking, performance and potential. In a world where customers demand transparency and authenticity, businesses leading the way with ‘clarity cultures’ benefit from the impact of employee engagement, increased productivity and customer goodwill.
Here are some details of a possible future for 'awakened business':
‘Awakened businesses’ are guided by a clear sense of purpose and direction. Awakened Humanity votes with its feet in support of organisations that are guided by a clear ‘why’ that their clients, employees and suppliers resonate with and are inspired by. The increasing sophistication of clients (and their increasingly sensitive BS-detectors) means that organisations have to ‘walk their talk’ or perish. Transparency, authenticity and integrity are an entry-level requirement for businesses to attract, retain and grow loyal client-communities.
‘Awakened businesses’ run on ‘clarity cultures’, with a shared appreciation of and embodied understanding of the principles behind clarity. The benefits of implicit understanding of these principles are significant, and have a direct impact on critical factors including employee engagement, customer loyalty, innovation and bottom line results. The ‘deep drivers’ behind the clarity culture are described in this excerpt from my book CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results (Wiley, 2013):
Clarity, resilience and peace of mind are the default setting for people; our true nature. They are our natural state when our minds are clear and free from superstitious thinking. As you continue deepening your understanding of CLARITY, you’ll start experiencing the “default settings” more of the time. These default settings are the “deep drivers” behind individual and business success.
© Jamie Smart 2013
Awakened Humanity understands that leadership is an inside job, and are deliberately cultivating leaders through an understanding of the principles behind clarity. The understanding of the ‘leadership logic’ implied by these principles results in a shared language, and better diagnosis of leadership problems. There’s a broad appreciation that every person has the capacity for leadership, and will be called to be a leader in various contexts. The following diagram shows the leadership attributes that emerge as a result of a deeper understanding of the principles behind clarity, our CLARITY:
© Jamie Smart 2013
3.2.4 Employee engagement
Just as values-led, purpose-driven businesses attract and retain loyal customers, they cultivate loyal, engaged and productive employees. Just as the discovery of germs and bacteria allowed humanity to experience a massive increase in physical health, the discovery of the principles behind clarity allow people to experience a massive increase in psychological health. Employees who are operating from a high quality mental and emotional lifestyle experience and demonstrate a number of valuable qualities, including:
– Better performance in technical, interpersonal and creative tasks
– More connected relationships with colleagues and clients
– Connected listening, leading to better problem-identification, creative solutions and wise decision-making
– Creativity and innovation, more important than ever in the rapidly changing world of the 21st century
– Innate resilience, the ability to survive and thrive in times of uncertainty and change
– An improved mental and emotional lifestyle, with minimal ‘friction’ from the outside-in misunderstanding
3.2.5 Creativity and innovation
One of the biggest contributors to ‘awakened business’ is the sheer volume of creativity and innovation that’s been released through employees being freed from a stress-inducing misunderstanding, and re-connected with the source of fresh new thinking that exists inside every person. A vast reservoir of wisdom, creativity and talent has been unleashed, helping to solve some of humanities most persistent problems, and create new possibilities, previously undreamt of.
3.2.6 The customer experience
Awakened businesses recognise that the customer’s state of mind has a huge impact on the perceived quality and value of the customer experience. The customer experience is a strategic focus at every level in the organisation. Staff are aware that their own state of mind is the biggest leverage point for influencing the customer’s state of mind, and act accordingly. Some businesses take an active role in educating their customers in the inside-out understanding in order to optimise their experience of the company’s products and services. [NB. In his book, Up the Mood Elevator, Larry Senn talks about how firms such as Victoria’s Secret , Pizza Hut and KFC have used an understanding of the principles behind state-of-mind help to shape company culture and the customer experience.]
3.2.7 Community and social impact
Business recognise a duty of care to their customers, employees and suppliers, as well as their shareholders. For example:
Food producers and supermarkets acknowledge and embrace their ‘custodial’ roles in relation to the physical health and wellbeing of their customers. They take responsibility for the education of their customer-community, and for ensuring that the products they sell are clearly labelled in ways that genuinely support customers in making informed choices in favour of good health. Market leadership belongs to those businesses who authentically champion and nurture the health and wellbeing of their community. The awesome power of sales and marketing is used passionately to helping people make choices that genuinely support the wellbeing of them and their families.
While the food companies are just an example, the same kind of logic applies across all industries and businesses, large and small.
All businesses value results. Results drive income, customer loyalty and market leadership. The principles behind clarity are explanatory: they help people understand where high quality results come from, and help diagnose the problem when errors arise and targets are missed. Awakened Humanity prizes results, and is finding solutions to our most pressing problems as individuals, organisations and societies. The inside-out understanding of reality helps us recognise the deep drivers behind our most highly-valued business results. With this knowledge, it’s possible to create more of what we want and need, for ourselves and all humanity.
Part 3 of the vision for Awakened Humanity will focus on society and our global community.
If you want to learn more about how you can see through the outside-in misunderstanding, and start waking up to the principles behind clarity, you can explore the materials here at www.JamieSmart.com or read my book, the #1 bestseller CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results.
To your increasing clarity,