In an insightful article describing a recent CC meeting we both attended, Bhavna Chadalavada describes the high points of a presentation given by Conscious Leader Ash Patel, CEO of Commercial Bank of California. This man is, in my opinion, both a great and conscious leader. The results he and his team are creating are in line with other CC companies, 10.5 times the performance of non-CC companies over 15 years. However, it appears CC may be missing a proven strategy for becoming a Conscious Leader or a CC company.
Two Critical Pieces
Two areas stand out that may significantly hinder CC becoming a movement that transforms the business landscape globally: 1) A lack of systems thinking and 2) A lack of a robust/structured implementation strategy. Let me explain.
The Workplace Operates Like The Universe
The physical universe is made of systems and subsystems from the largest features such as clusters of galaxies to the quantum realm of subatomic particles. In nature, these systems are responsible for 100% of the results created. However, when the human mind gets involved, such as in the workplace, approximately 94% of results, both good and poor, is a function of the systems in which people work, not the efforts of those people. Yet, leaders and managers are "trained" to focus on people as the source of problems, solutions and performance.
Reams of data indicate this focus on the wrong issues is a huge contributor to ineffective leadership and management and poor performance. If we want to implement CC, set up people to be successful, create huge value for all stakeholders and etc., we must optimize our systems. While Conscious Leadership will take us part of the way there, a lack of systems thinking and systems optimization could easily turn a CC implementation into a “flavor of the month.”
Implementation of Conscious Capitalism is Critical
Leaders, including the vast majority of those who will be pulled to CC, are not systems thinkers. While it's possible to create good or even great companies without systems thinking, they are rare and difficult to sustain. Most of "great" companies described in business classics such as In Search of Excellence and Good to Great have fallen on hard times. Meanwhile, systems-based companies such as Toyota and Honda not only dramatically outperform their competitors, they go on and on despite changes in leadership.
It appears, if CC added these systems thinking/systems optimization pieces to its Four Tenets, successful implementation, performance and sustainability of CC companies will increase dramatically. Based upon case studies over now more than 25 years, we can move beyond even the current lofty performance of existing CC companies.
CC is an idea whose time has come. Systems principles have been with us since the beginning of time. Systems thinking is straightforward, if properly taught. Together, we make a powerful potion that will not only change the workplace in profound ways, but our world, too.