Archive for March, 2014

March and April Reflections

Friday, March 28th, 2014
Spring Equinox ushers in a season of striking contrast. Here in Boulder, CO, it was 75 degrees one day-and snowed the next. But having endured the dark and cold of December, January, February, and most of March, we can surely make it through another snowstorm (or two), knowing that many gentle, warmer months lie ahead. So much is still growing quietly beneath the surface, but signs of spring are unmistakable: the longer days, songbirds, a crocus in the snow. We hear the Call-distinct and hearty: Wake up! The promise of Renewal awakens within you a more conscious sense of your year's true purpose. At Equinox, day and night are roughly 12 hours long. But now the light force quickens and swells. As the light overtakes the dark, I long to fill every vase with flowers, cheer up a wool sweater with a pastel scarf, and happily polish off another task or two at my desk until sunset. In terms of soul evolution, this is the season to stretch and grow while anchoring yourself, your vision, and your most cherished values deep into the Earth. The year's vision will begin to blossom in May and into June. Meanwhile, in March and April, expand your horizons. Experiment. Launch a few initiatives. See what happens. Some might take off; others may wither. It's okay. At this point, just step forward. You can sow a few seeds now-and others later this spring. Some of these will grow through the summer to be harvested as autumn approaches. The mood of March-Contrast, Renewal, Planting Seeds for the Future-carries through April. Accept the rain. Savor every warm day. Anticipate the merry month of May. Mother Earth takes her own sweet time waking up and so should we. April Showers bring May Flowers!

Conscious Capitalism at the University of Colorado Boulder!

This February, CU Boulder's Leeds School of Business hosted its 5rd annual gathering on Conscious Capitalism. What a pleasure to keynote this forum of students, faculty, and enthusiastic community members. My old friend Jim Autry, author of The Book of Hard Choices, offered an electrifying discourse on the power of values in business and the terrible cost of failing to honor simple human decency. Three women leaders, Dawn Bitz, Dana Watts, and Beth Jensen, vividly described the joys and challenges of Boulder's favorite "industry"-the Great Outdoors. I spoke on Conscious Capitalism, illustrating how it's practiced with a video on The Container Store then invited people to road test my new self-assessment tool: "Are You A Conscious Capitalist?" More on that soon! Thanks to everyone at the Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR) at the Leeds School, especially Nan Stout. Thanks also to Leyla and Mark Steele and to Alain Bolea.

Celebrate Spring with Conscious Flowers

If March wind & April showers inspire vases of flowers-why not make them conscious blossoms-as in local, organic, or Fair Trade? Whole Foods Market sells local flowers and imports stems grown in developing countries that meet the retailer's in-house Fair Trade standards. Flower production, says Fair Trade USA, is "one of the most dangerous types of agricultural work" because mostly women workers are exposed to harmful chemicals. Since 2007, however, conscious shoppers have bought more than 50 million Fair Trade flowers, says the US certifier. BloomNation, an FTD-type alternative, promotes top local florists and their specialty bouquets. You know what you're getting and get more for your money. Easter and Mother's Day are coming! Think Conscious Flowers. Check out the full story.

How Transparency Grows People and Profit

If you're reading this, you're no stranger to Conscious Capitalism or the values that drive it. Transparency is a top value at Whole Foods Market, where a team member can look up any coworker's salary and bonuses. Co-CEO John Mackey, who launched the policy in 1986, says, "If you're trying to create a high-trust organization where ... people are all-for-one and one-for-all, you can't have secrets." Excellent point. Furthermore, as a landmark Watson Wyatt study demonstrated, high-trust organizations outperform their low-trust counterparts by 286 percent! When people ask Mackey, why is so-and-so is paid X, while I am only paid Y, he candidly replies, "If you accomplish what this person has accomplished, I'll pay you that, too." Here's the story, based on The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers. The Watson Wyatt study is from The Speed of Trust (Free Press, 2006) Stephen M. R. Covey, p. 21. Spring is my favorite season, as I am sure you can tell. I hope this wonderful season brings you spiritual renewal and earthly delights! Love, Patricia

February Reflections

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
February brings mid-winter in the northern climes, a time when many wonder if Spring will ever come! If the later sunsets don't cheer you, there's St. Valentine's Day and in the US, a long President's Day weekend. So,why do we still have a vague seasonal malaise? Perhaps because the feast of Candlemas, the original Ground Hog's Day, marks an awkward phase in the year's evolution and our own. Last month we invoked a vision for 2014. But as one New Age program put it: Once you definitively choose something new, up comes the same old argument: it can't be done. Truth be told, resistance is a natural phase of growth. At this point in the annual cycle, we sense the first tender shoots of the year's potential. That alone can make us profoundly uneasy. "What! I'm supposed to grow-AGAIN? Enough already." Besides, since we do not yet know exactly what lies ahead, the Unknown tends to trigger fear, alongside resistance. So in February and the first weeks of March, be tender with yourself, open to receive the soul's quiet promptings, and grow inspiration by asking a few questions: "If I had a vision for 2104, what might it be?" To start a business? Marry my sweetheart? Stand my ground, gently but firmly, with a parent, spouse, or colleague? Answer a life-long calling to be an artist, writer, or healer? We can also ask: Which resources do I need to proceed? What new skills am I guided to develop now? Who'll be my allies on the year's journey? The challenge we now face is to accept our natural resistance, let go of old patterns, begin to envision the future, and move forward. From now until Spring Equinox, there will be many, spacious weeks to engage the Unknown and nurture our vision. Notice the expanding daylight, as it slowly coaxes the snow-covered Earth-and rouses its Beings-to prepare for the Spring Renewal coming in March!

Trust Across America

Thank you Trust Across America for naming me a "Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business" four years running. What an honor to appear with personal heroes like Bill George, the retired Medtronic CEO, now a Harvard Business School professor, futurist Hazel Henderson of Ethical Markets Media, Frances Hesselbein, retired CEO of the Girl Scouts, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Here's the full list.

CONSCIOUS CAPITALISM AND CONSCIOUS MONEY

Purpose, Values, and the Stakeholder Model are the essence of Conscious Capitalism. But there's at least one more crucial element: a positive, life-affirming corporate culture-grounded in the values a company stands for. Today there's growing agreement that great business cultures are the secret sauce of success. People who work in a conscious culture feel more free "to speak frankly," says Adam Bryant, a New York Times business columnist. Such a culture is built upon the value of trust. In times of change and uncertainty, says Bryant, people "need that extra level of trust." It is essential that they believe what their leaders "are doing, saying and planning." John Duffy, CEO of 3Cinteractive, a mobile platform firm, recently put this question on an employee survey: "Do you trust John Duffy?" Bryant explains that Duffy was asking if people trust him, not so much as a CEO (although that is certainly important), but as a human being. Clearly, a lot more CEOs should be asking themselves-and their people-the same question. Check out the full story: "How the right corporate culture can guarantee success"

HAPPENINGS

Will I meet you Friday February 28th when I speak at the University of Colorado, Boulder's annual gathering on "Conscious Capitalism"? There's no charge to attend the morning event, but you must register in advance. My old friend Jim Autry starts the day off with his seminal work on human values. Later there's a panel of leaders representing Boulder's thriving outdoor industry. I speak at 12 noon. See you there!