A study of thirty-two sustainability leaders and change agents were the subject of a Ph.D. candidate, Barrett Chapman Brown. The study is called “Conscious leadership for sustainability: How leaders with late-stage action logics design and engage in sustainability initiatives.”

Practical Implications: The results provide the most granular view to date of how individuals with complex meaning, making many think and behave with respect to complex change initiatives. This provides insight into the potential future of leadership.

Social Implications: This study is an initial exploration of what leader development programs may need to focus on in order to cultivate leadership with the capacity to address very complex social, economic, and environmental challenges.

So what is consciousness? 

Consciousness is often associated with a connection to a higher power, an inner knowing that comes from reflective states such as meditation.

Being conscious means you do not lose your temper when you might have before.  Conscious leadership means attending to the triple bottom line (profits, people, planet) when strategically planning for the company’s future — recycle, give employees time and money to support causes outside the organization.  It means getting involved in the industry to create sustainability practices that shift the entire business model, not just your own organization’s actions.  It means caring about things like the environment, politics and its effects, the global state of affairs.  For example, if your business uses dry ice, find a replacement.  Dry ice pollutes.

It means setting aside your ego’s need to be liked in exchange for something greater than your organization and greater than your self-interest.

Consciousness is access to deeper meaning, deeper awareness.  It is access to fulfillment not found anywhere else.  And yes, it takes intention and discipline.

I would wish it for everyone who leads anywhere, any time.  That means all of us!

Where have you seen it?  When have you practiced it?  Have you missed the opportunity and kicked yourself?

Occupying the realm of self-awareness invites inputs that aren’t found in every day conversations. These insights come from conscious awareness. For instance, if you want to look deeply at strategic planning, here is a white paper I wrote on that very important topic that includes resources for further reflection.

Pamela Stambaugh, seasoned advisor to executives and their teams, offers assessments (Harrison Assessments and others), coaching, and team facilitation addressing 3 P’s:  Performance, Productivity and People.