Over the past several years the conscious business movement has been picking up steam. First, with the publication of Fred Kofman’s book Conscious Business, and more recently the publication of John Mackey and Raj Sisodia’s Conscious Capitalism, new life is being breathed into a holistic stakeholder model of the firm. After two major ethical crises in the past decade (both originating in the financial services sector), this can only be good news.
What is conscious business? As outlined in these two important books, conscious business is a mindset and approach to business that treats all parties and stakeholders (employees, customers, the environment, society, and yes, investors) with 100% respect and fairness. While the goals and needs of investors are part of the calculus of a conscious business, they are neither the starting point nor the end point. Rather, a conscious business recognizes its critical importance in society, as a provider of a truly needed product or service, delivered and sold fairly, and produced in humane working conditions.
Conscious businesses start with conscious leadership. As Axialent’s Fred Kofman suggests, this begins when leaders are able to transcend the ontological arrogance that prevents many corporate leaders from allowing other perspectives and points of view to be present at the table. That is, my view of the world is not the view, it is just one view.
For its part, coworking is by definition a conscious business. Everyone and every perspective is welcome, in an all-inclusive, non-judgmental environment. At its core, coworking is about being free to express one’s own work according to one’s own rhythms and values. In the course of a given work day in a coworking space, we all encounter people who view certain issues differently than we do, but rarely does anyone railroad another person for being “wrong.” We are each free to be ourselves.
Yet another lesson that the mainstream business world can learn from coworking. Be present, be fair, and do great work!