What Is Conscious Business?

This is a very interesting lecture series by Fred Kofman that demonstrates how important psychology is to the general public. While much of his discussions seem basic, it’s clear how much the world needs the influence of psychology.

I learned about Fred Kofman’s lectures when I was listening to Sheryl Sandberg’s audio book, Lean In. One of the underlying themes of her book is the need for industry to be more collaborative and understanding of the needs of all workers. Mr. Kofman discusses how every industry should understand that products and services are better when people work collaboratively. Yet, people are encouraged to be competitive, and, therefore, are not aware how they are impeding their own growth. Fred Kofman’s lectures emphasize that in order to have a successful business, you must develop a collaborative workplace. This does not mean there is never conflict, but that people must learn to work as teams, communicate effectively, approach versus avoid conflict, and address issues assertively rather than aggressively. He also discusses making a mindset shift from being ‘right’ to being curious; this is something that really resonated with me given my interest and training in mindfulness-based approaches.

Mr. Kofman focuses on the need for people to develop their own “consciousness” (awareness) about their thoughts, feelings and behavior. If you struggle working within big industries or professions that are culturally aggressive, this concept can help develop better communication skills, reduce emotional reactivity, and lend towards better problem solving. Much of what he discusses addresses how we function on automatic pilot. And, without directly referencing different modes of treatment, he pulls concepts based in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

He challenges the listener to evaluate their belief system, modify their behavior, be fully aware of how one’s emotions motivate behavior, and how to live by one’s values and adhere to one’s virtues. Mr. Kofman discusses the need for a workplace to be a conscious team that shares everything that everybody knows, rather than being proprietary or territorial, at least within the same business. This includes understanding the company’s purpose, feelings and thoughts about the mission of the company, and individual desires and shared vision. Mr. Kofman suggests that individuals within companies need to learn to make decisions that meet the higher purpose of the business as well as each individual’s needs. I.e. if the company wants you to do something that contradicts your own values or integrity, a person should make that known. This includes making and keeping commitments and having some long-term perspective. He proposes a shift from an individualistic mindset, and a winner versus loser mentality, to a more collectivist approach.

Mr. Kofman discusses the ethics of virtuous versus vicious behavior. He describes happiness as a process of enjoying the experience of all parts of life, good and bad. He encourages the listener to take responsibility and action versus being a victim who blames others. He focuses on honesty, humility, respect, compassion, kindness, integrity, equanimity, and personal discipline.

Mr. Kofman encourages the listener to look past being right and the feeling of self-righteous indignation and to turn towards accepting failure and pain as a learning process. He suggests that if people would honor their promises and commitments, view others with curiosity, and be willing to show up and give the other person space to have their own opinion, that businesses can be more successful. He also suggests that individuals will be happier in their personal lives if they are adhering to this kind of integrity at work.

He discusses being open to change and describes a person as a process of continually becoming more aware in order to make conscious choices. He suggests that businesses thrive and survive when they can develop an identity that can go with the flow when things change. Again, while this is written with the purpose of helping support business, it is such a powerful message for humankind. Interesting in talking about how these concepts apply to your workplace? Please contact me at drkatrina@kkjpsych.com.

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conscious business, mindfullness

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