Conscious Leadership: The Role of the CEO in Leading the Company of the Future

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Business Leadership, Uncategorized

The triple bottom line movement (people, profit and planet) has created a significant shift in leadership thinking. Specifically, it’s resulted in the two terms we’re all hearing much more about: conscious leadership and conscious capitalism.


The most exceptional leaders today realize that their role goes far beyond maximizing profit and that success can only be sustainable when guided by a broader perspective.


Yet too few leaders have made this shift themselves and are still driven by short-term goals and consumed by “the numbers” which leaves little room for the qualities necessary for conscious leadership. They include:


Vision and purpose, self-awareness, passion, the ability to create trust (which includes being open and transparent), intuition and sensitivity, non-linear thinking, integrity, desire for a win-win, humility, the willingness to learn from mistakes (and to experiment), and strong execution skills, especially the ability to work alongside the team to achieve goals, to enroll others in the purpose of the work, to communicate why the outcome matters and to ensure actions are aligned with values.


These are emotional intelligence and mindfulness skills that clearly take time to develop, especially when it’s so easy to simply focus on the data and stay in analysis.


As a leader, it’s important to remember that you’re developing these skills (and encouraging them in your team) not because of some hippy-dippy vision for the future, but because research shows a direct correlation between companies that have achieved long-term success and conscious leadership. In short, it’s fact, not woo-woo – and it’s not for sissies.


Conscious leaders are willing to be scrutinized and to also take a hard look at others, including their co-leaders, board members and employees. As a result, they must make difficult decisions on a regular basis.


As a growth strategist and board governance consultant, I find that there is often at least some resistance to committing to the path of conscious leadership because it requires such deep looking:

  • 360 evaluations
  • Willingness to keep examining; constant re-evaluation
  • Asking: Are we the best we can be? Am I the best I can be?
  • Digging to find out what others really think; not settling for silence
  • Understanding what’s needed now, and making sure the company has that expertise


A great example of understanding what’s needed now and acting on it is the cyber security issue. So many companies see its importance but are dragging their feet to implement real security measures – which may include making sure the board of directors includes an expert in this arena (and making room for that expert by letting go of someone who’s not on the right bus).


Which brings me to the crux of the matter.


When you commit to becoming a conscious leader, it means things are going to change and you need to be ready for and open to that.


In their book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, authors John Mackey, CEO and cofounder of Whole Foods Market and cofounder and director of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., and Dr. Rajendra (Raj) Sisodia, professor of marketing at Bentley University and a director and member of the executive team of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., state:


“Conscious leaders are usually strong individuals who possess exceptional moral courage and are able to withstand constant scrutiny and criticism from those who view business in a more traditional and narrow manner.”


In other words, a conscious leader commits to embarking on the most intense growth experience of their lives.


But isn’t that what makes running a company so interesting?


I challenge you to answer the call and become one of a growing number of leaders who are bravely creating the future of business. Along the way, of course, you’ll also be making certain that your own company is part of it.

Growth Advisor Helps CEOs Consciously Take Their Companies to the Next Level

Growth Advisor is an opportunity to work one-on-one with Carol Coughlin and make a high-return investment in your company’s future and in your leadership by taking a deeper look at every aspect of how you run your company and developing the best growth and leadership strategy for the future. Learn more about Growth Advisor here.

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Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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