I had big plans for spending my time with IIM, the Indian Institutes of Management but never thought it would have to be digital instead of making that trip physically to the IIM and making new acquaintances. As disappointing at it was in theory, the learning and the experience during the 2 weeks spent was incomparable. The part that was eye opening for me was that as leaders and managers how converged our thoughts are to the smaller and minute things surrounding us that we miss out on the bigger picture. The two weeks I spent with IIM sat quite well with my concept of Hypermetropia for Leaders and Managers who need to start looking things beyond their immediate vicinity. This creates the drive, reason to achieve more and the goal, without which one would just be firefighting their way out each day and waste their career and the most precious and energetic days doing so.
The first 2 days were a bit dry as its been ages since I sat in for lectures delivered by professors who are extremely experienced however may not be the best presenters. I then started to dwell over the actual message being delivered and beyond the beauty of the presentation itself. It was fascinating as it then struck me that my Frontal cortex which was responsible for the creative side of my brain was cobwebbed for years and unused.
Let me share one topic that stood out during the session for me. The name of this topic is ‘Conscious Capitalism’. I honestly did not know what this really meant till that point or perhaps had a different view to what it meant. By its own definition, Conscious Capitalism means unleashing human energy and creativity for the greater good. This was interesting and new to me and I am sure is the case for most of you. Capitalism for us as Leaders and Managers has become all about greed and self-centred needs. We’ve all become competitive enough to forget who we really are competing against. Firms and organisations that run behind big margins forget that their companies are run by people and human beings. Interestingly, this greed has gotten into our bones that we forget that there is an end customer at the receiving end of the product and service and that is of least interest to us anymore. In the race to be profitable, Corporates have become uncaring towards their people ending up only with stressed employees and unhappy customers.
And here I introduce to you the real Conscious Capitalism ! It is much larger that just profits, money, selfishness and everything that follows the greedy path. This is much beyond to the extent that it has been observed that companies which treat their employees and stakeholders well often achieve higher results than its rivals who are obsessed with profits and margins.
With Conscious Capitalism at the heart, there are four elements surrounding it.
This is not just about being socially responsible or doing good rather, its about doing the ‘right things’ that reflects a deeper consciousness about why businesses exist and how they should be organised and led.
The essential elements include higher purpose, stakeholder alignment, conscious leadership and conscious culture.
This becomes a big paradigm shift in business and leadership. With conscious capitalism, leaders need to make a change to their thought process to create a marked difference. People are the most precious assets of an organisation. A leader needs to take care of his people at all times and most importantly respect them. The only thing that is more difficult to earn over money and will stay longer than wealth is respect, and this comes from how you treat your people. Somewhere, we stopped listening to what customer really want and started telling them what we have to offer and for them to be satisfied with that. This itself drives the best change and I cannot think of a better example here than Apple. Apple did exactly that; when the world was running behind profit and business growth, Apple chose to make products what the customer really wants and what customer appreciates. This was ofcourse an expensive affair with an expensive product line, but they knew their customer base well enough to give more than what they expected.
There is nothing more important than trust in the leadership and the organisation for every individual to give their best performance. It doesn’t matter if an organisation has the best purpose or mission if those at the top fail to understand and serve it. Conscious leaders understand the purpose and are focused on creating value for all stakeholders. They mentor, motivate, respect and inspire people, rather than leading through an autocratic or carrot-stick approach.
And I sum up… If every organisation, board of management, senior leadership and manager leads and manages with the philosophy of conscious capitalism, then as its definition goes, the greater good will be attained and become the winning business and strategy leading the market.