As one who loves literature, I find myself waxing poetic about Conscious Business because of the passion I have for the topic and the respect I feel for its author, Fred Kofman.
I was introduced to Conscious Business early in my tenure at CDM Princeton, about 13 years ago. CDMP was growing, and the agency principals understood the importance of exploring tools and resources, even working with leadership consultants, to help guide management in growing the CDMP business. The principals also understood that the business is all about the people: access to tools that help to grow the people also help to grow the business. Conscious Business is one of these valuable tools.
In the book, Fred invites the reader to explore a business world where both the heart and the mind are prominent. In thinking about corporations that have failed, it’s not hard to see Fred’s point: both the heart and the mind are needed for the long-term success of any business. Sure, for short-term gains one can compromise one’s principals, operate from a place of arrogance and ego, and still come out on top. But these behaviors, or ways of being, don’t drive a culture of sustainability or business longevity. That’s what Fred refers to in the book’s subtitle: building value through values, ie, doing business—or living one’s life—with 100% integrity and aligned with one’s values. Demonstrating unconditional responsibility and unflinching integrity always steer us (and our business) in the right direction.
What I’ve learned as one of the facilitators of CDMP’s Conscious Business Workshops (yearlong learning labs I’ve facilitated for more than 10 years) is that the techniques detailed in the book make absolute sense. But in the day-to-day challenges of life (whether work life or home life, it’s all one life), these practices aren’t always easy. Colleagues who have participated in the workshops can tell you it’s tough keeping these techniques top of mind in the middle of a pitch, tight deadlines, and last-minute and unreasonable client demands. But, ironically, these scenarios are the most opportune times to keep ideas such as integrity, humility, commitments, coordination, and negotiation in the forefront of how we do business.
Why do I love Conscious Business so much? Maybe it’s the cultural heritage I share with Fred that sparked my initial interest. Fred was born in Argentina, I was born in Chile. I remember visiting Chile in the early 1970s, when I was a child. Fred was on the other side of the Andes and experiencing political upheaval as a child in Argentina in the 1970s, which ultimately shaped his career and life decisions: moving to the United States, earning a PhD in economics, and becoming a recognized leader in organizational management and leadership.
There is plenty of good leadership literature out there, but Conscious Business is pivotal to the reasons for my loyalty and the respect I have for CDMP. I am truly grateful that the CDMP agency principals have the humility and openness to see its value to the individual and the business. That’s doing business consciously!
by Jennie St. Pierre
Vice President, Editorial Director