Creating a Mindful & Conscious Culture at Work

One of my favorite parts of working at Adam Hergenrother Companies is the company’s commitment to radical transparency and fierce conversations. A close second is the company’s openness and encouragement to bring our whole selves to work. We are not asked to forget that we are partners, caregivers, volunteers, travel bloggers, runners, or reality TV lovers when we walk through the door. In fact, those interests and identities are welcomed and celebrated. To me, that is a conscious culture.

What is a Conscious Work Culture?

A conscious culture fosters connection, care, trust, and honesty between team members and other stakeholders with clearly articulated values that are translated into behaviors.

We believe the next generation of leaders are just as committed to their inner growth and spiritual life as they are to spreadsheets and bottom lines. And this all starts at the top, with the Principal, their Force Multiplier, and the leadership team. Leadership is influence, and if the leaders of your organization aren’t role modeling the behaviors that they expect others to embody, then trust begins to break down. Without trust, you can never really create a safe space to explore ideas (and have disagreements), advocate for yourself as an employee, feel connected to your company and team, or do your best work.

What do radical transparency and fierce conversations look like? Recently, Adam and I were in the final interview stages with a candidate, and per usual, Adam and I started to debate (i.e., respectfully argue) about how we saw a particular project unfolding. The candidate stopped us and said, “I can’t believe how honest you are both being. I would never be able to have a conversation like this with my current leadership team.” I filed that away because I too often take for granted how much trust, transparency, and real conversations I’m able to have at our company. I wish everyone had this conscious culture at their workplace.

Creating a Conscious Culture in Your Business

Now is when conscious and mindful leadership matters most. As businesses navigate this unprecedented time in history, employees, clients, and business partners are looking for strength and resolve from leaders. Force Multipliers, that means you too. It is not business as usual right now and that is okay. Leaders must practice authenticity and encourage their team to do the same. Over-communicate the facts and keep everyone up to date as things are unfolding in real-time. This means communicating your thought process as you are making decisions. Sometimes the best decision is to not make a decision, share that too. Most importantly, make sure your team has a safe space to voice their concerns about their job, their health, their family, their community, and more. There has never been a better time than right now to create a conscious work culture. The world is craving it, and your business needs it.

Here’s how you can create a conscious culture at your office:

  1. Clearly articulate the vision for the company and the culture. And not just once, but in every conversation. Model the values and principles your company stands for. And then, communicate the vision again and again. This goes beyond the goals for the quarter of the year (though those are important too). What does your organization want to be remembered for? How do the individuals in your organization contribute to that vision? How does everyone show up each day to do their work? What collective values and beliefs permeate the organization? A shared vision builds a conscious culture.
  2. Practice authenticity and bring your whole self to work. A conscious culture starts at the top. Team members need to know that they can trust their leaders to walk the talk. However, there is a fine line between over-sharing (or as Brene Brown calls is “floodlighting,” or as I call it, “hit and run vulnerability”) and true authenticity. Walk the line carefully. There is a difference between sharing with your team that you are practicing daily meditation in order to clear your mind to make the best decisions for the company, and giving your team a play-by-play of your recent therapy session. It is also important as a leader to share what you do outside of the office – whether that’s training for a marathon, a recent trip to the zoo with your family, or a new novel that you’re reading. It will show your team that it is okay to be who they are and encourage them to also show up and be seen. When people are able to bring their whole selves to work, everyone wins.
  3. Lead with transparent conversations and communication. Clear communication that takes into consideration all stakeholders is one of the building blocks of a conscious culture. It doesn’t mean that everyone is always going to walk away happy with a particular decision. So it’s important that the leadership team has clearly communicated the thought process and that everyone has bought into the shared vision. Consider the questions that employees may have, particularly in times of uncertainty. Even just communicating that their concerns have been heard and that nothing is happening yet, but that it could change tomorrow, is often enough.
  4. Welcome and encourage feedback. As leaders, we give feedback to team members daily. Are you as good at receiving feedback as you are at giving it (check out this post about stay interviews if not)? Once again, we must lead ourselves first and remove the ego in order to welcome and encourage feedback before we can consciously give feedback to others. Approach these conversations with curiosity, an open mind, and a desire to learn. Positive results will follow, not only for you, but for your team. A conscious culture must include a space to give and receive feedback without fear of negative consequences.
  5. Create an environment that encourages self-awareness and personal growth. Our company believes that business is nothing but a conduit for our personal growth. Growth is in our company’s DNA. Learning about ourselves and others and pushing each other to grow is part of all of our conversations. We have cultivated that by actively practicing transparent communication, authenticity, bringing our whole selves to work, and giving and receiving feedback. We frequently discuss behavior assessments and use a User’s Manual (get access on our resources page) to better understand ourselves and each other. If leadership is influence (which we believe it is), then one of the best ways to influence another person is to challenge their thinking and help them grow. We know we have succeeded as an organization when our employees are growing at work and at home.

The truth is we all want more authenticity and deeper connections in our lives. The desire for fulfillment at work and at home is driven by a yearning to be totally authentic in all that we do. In allowing others to be their own authentic selves, you’ll find you’ve also created the space for you to do the same. And operating from a place of complete authenticity is at the heart of what true leadership is all about. A conscious culture is a fearless culture. And that starts with you.

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