Jacqueline Gautier

Articles

January 01, 2001
International Conference on Business and Consciousness

Written by Jacqueline Gautier, January 2001

In December, 2000 I had the wonderful opportunity of being a presenter at Sixth International Conference on Business and Consciousness in Acapulco, Mexico. Several friends and Colleagues had attended in previous years, returning energized the literally brimming with provocative and innovative ideas into the wealth of human potential and applying that genius to create companies and organizations that inspire rather that expire people. I was equally affected by this experience.

My own personal journey had taken me through business school, management training, a decade as a senior executive in a multi-national corporation, a health crisis and eventually the creation of my own consulting firm. I had been a "skirt" (corpspeak for a suit)experienced on both sides- as part of a traditional corporate executive team and now spearheading my own company. I can no longer blame anything like stress, hectic schedules, roller coaster profits and losses or work-related conflicts on "them" because "them" is now "me"!

While I espoused intellectually and professionally the necessity of living a balanced, fulfilling existence, I continued to search for ways to claim a higher ground in the business world, a place where achieving profits and "doing the right thing" were not just utopian thinking, but a realized achievement. This search inevitably led me to the area of "Business and Consciousness" not a fad, but a movement , quietly sweeping across the world-which gave me an opportunity to present at a conference that annually attracts hundreds of international participants form all the professional and business sectors.

Each day, while there, I listened to keynote addresses and attended workshops given by leading experts in the fields of transformational leadership, development, business and science. The roster included such luminaries as: Dr.John Hagelin, Harvard-trained quantum physicist, U.S. Presidential candidate and director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, Dr.Patricia aburdene. author of the best-selling Megatrends series of books, Dr.Alfredo Sfeir Younis, Director or the world Bank in Switzerland and winner of 3 world peace awards, Canada`s Lance Secretan, former CEO of Manpower and author of bestselling book The Way of the Tiger, Reclaiming Higher Grounds and Inspirational Leadership, and Sarah Severn, NIKE`s Global Director of Environmental Sustainability. There were many more, all experts on the leading edge of creating and disseminating information about the most advanced business practices focussed towards optimizing human potential at work, sustainability and the new business paradigm.

It was heartwarming to encounter and interact with an international community of individuals who were grappling with the important issues that are in some way impacting every person on the face of this earth.

In our "attention deficit" culture we have unconsciously rationalized and institutionalized the largely detrimental ideology of "work and spin." We live our lives by daytimers; everything is measured in pixels and nanoseconds: our webmasters tell us that 60 seconds is just too long to download your website. We live in a society where we were once recognized as citizens, but now are referred to as consumers and we don`t have to look very far to realize that we are giving our giving our life force to consume eventually winds up consuming us. Statistics Canada estimates that stress-related disorders cost Canadian businesses $12 billion per year and horrifyingly the anti-depressant pharmaceutical market in North America is currently a $60 billion a year business. in an age of advanced medicine and technology four-fifth of the world`s population goes to bed hungry at night and it is said that the remaining fifth suffers from a hunger of the soul.

Because of its inherent power and resources, the challenge of the business world today is to use that power in an evolved, sustainable way that not only enriches corporate capital but also it`s most important resource- people. If companies are to survive in a burgeoning planet futurists predict will be inhabited by 12 billion people, the social dimension of global responsibility is a crucial necessity.

So where does one start with Business and Consciousness? It would be cerebrally myopic to assume that business is separate from life. The fact is that business is about relationships. It has been proven repeatedly that people are not motivated by the values of a corporation, or even a corporate mission statement for that matter. What they are motivated by are personal values and a shared vision. Let`s face it we run our homes by the same set of values that we run our businesses.

Words and language are important and carry with them great power. The English word "company" stems from the Latin derivative "com" (with) and "pan" (bread)- to share bread with. Inherent in this word is the energy of coming together to share, not with grasping greedy hands, but with giving hands. While corporate boards may speak the language of profits and losses, annual reviews, competitive analysis and fiduciary responsibility, we instinctively know on a heart level that when currency passes from one hand to that of another it is not the coin itself that counts, but the warmth of the hand - relationships. The language of Business and Consciousness delves into a deeper level of engagement, we use worlds such as joy, passion, vocation, meaning, service, and community rather that the familiar and tired Jargon of performance, value-added, outcomes, bench-marks, evaluations, quotas and deliverables.
They say the quality of one`s life is directly related to the quality of questions we ask ourselves and the authenticity with which we answer those question. Business and consciousness challenges us first to ask the soul-expanding questions: What am I meant to do? What are my special gifts and talents? Is the work I do a true expression of my soul? What is my passion and how is it ignited? Do my personal values align with those of my workplace? What is my personal mission statement? what is my calling, my destiny, my purpose?

Once we`re clear about personal values and contributions, we move them into the construct of the organization. In truth it`s not companies that inspire us, it`s the people inside that framework. Whether or not the business is successful will depend entirely on the collective energy of its people. Once again we look at the quality questions, only this time they are expanded to fit a workplace community. Dose this workplace foster an environment of joy, fairness and respect? What is the service that we are providing to the larger community? Is it environmentally and ethically appropriate? Do we continually try to innovate and improve processes and products? Are we open and flexible? Do we share ideas and information freely with in the organization? Is it safe to speak our truth? Are employees recognized for their contribution? What is our shared vision?

Silicon Valley`s high-tech company Cisco specializes in the manufacture of internet hardware and currently enjoys an 80% market share. As advocates and implementers of business and consciousness practices, their emphasis is on relationships and providing a technology which is of service to humanity. Honoring that people are the "true" product, they quantify their economic power by recognizing that each Cisco employee generates $605,000 of annual corporate revenue. Innovative practices include deputizing each employee as a recruiter so that up to 40% of hirings are done by in-house referrals. Employees can choose to work at home, on campus or at the office.

There are hundreds of other examples where companies are moving to higher grounds, using the evolved, and compatible practiees of Business and Consciousness. They are asking the right questions-ones that nurture the soul, that truly improve "quality of life" on a personal level and then transmit that expanded consciousness to the group collective where it can be utilized for the betterment of economic, financial, environmental and cultural globalization.
Mahatma Ghandi was once asked by a journalist "What is your message?" His response was "my life is my message." If we are to live conscious lives, the question we must all ultimately ask ourselves is: "What is the message of life?" If we have the ability to envision our lives and the world as we would wish them to be, prosperous and healthy, we certainly have the ability to, as the Captain of the Starship Enterprise says, "MAKE IT SO!"

Jacqueline Gautier is a writer, speaker and consultant.

This article was published in WHOLife Journal Volume6, Issue6, March-April, 2001

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