Conscious Business, Fred Kofman - Book Summary

Conscious Business offers ways that go beyond traditional methods of success and shows how to build a dynamic organization based on core human values. You will understand why companies that allow employees to work based on the values ​​they believe in are successful companies in today's market.

This book is especially for those who are managers who want to create value for their organizations or entrepreneurs who want to find a way to truly succeed. Or if you are stuck at work and lack inspiration, try reading and pondering. Surely you will find a way to make work more interesting.

“Consciousness really has a profound effect on business. Learning to work in tandem with our values ​​has inspired my team to become better professionals – and better people.” – Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook –

Fred Kofman is the president and founder of the consulting firm Axialent. He also wrote  Metamanagement , which was published in 1992 and that same year was named "teacher of the year" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Learn how to create a conscious and successful business.

Are you someone who acts consciously? In your personal life, are you responsible for your actions? Communicate constructively and, importantly, live up to your own values?

Now ask yourself if you are in business consciously. Do you negotiate contracts with these values ​​in mind? Is your communication with your co-workers as constructive as you would with your children?

It is clear that in today's fast-paced business world, being business conscious is the key to success – but how do you turn your company into a consciously run business? This book will guide you to do just that based on values ​​that really work.

“Most importantly, I learned that happiness and fulfillment do not come from mere pleasure, but from meaning, from pursuing a noble purpose.”

Being a conscious company is the key to a successful business.

In Good to Great , author Jim Collins points out that the most successful companies are those that can strive for greater goals than financial success. , because they are motivated by higher values.

But how exactly can values ​​create a successful company?

Many successful businesses are powered by conscious employees. They take responsibility for their own actions and know how to communicate constructively, without compromising their core values.

Unconscious employees, on the other hand, tend to ruin the business because they often blame others for problems or see themselves as victims. They are not self-aware and therefore cannot act on higher values.

This is why managers should prioritize finding conscious employees.

However, if you want to build a truly conscious business, you can't stop here. You must strike a balance between the personal, the objective and the interpersonal aspects of the company.

“Objectivity” is “it,” things like equity value, productivity, and other technical factors that exist in every business.

An “individual connection” is the “we” or relationship between different people in your company.

And "individual," which is of course "me," refers to the individual's happiness and desire for a meaningful and conscious life.

However, instead of creating a harmonious relationship between these three factors, most managers tend to focus exclusively on "it", the objective element of the business.

When a company ignores the human factor (individuals or interpersonal relationships), business is a meaningless activity in which success or failure revolves around solving problems. technically erratic.

However, in a conscious business, harmony exists between all three of these core elements. So how do you create a business based on harmony and core values?

“Power is the prize for responsibility and responsibility is the price to pay for it.”

Taking responsibility for your actions is the first step to conscious trading.

When something happens do you blame someone for the things you did wrong?

If so, then it's time to start taking responsibility for your actions.

In general, there are two types of people in the workplace: the players and the victims.

Players are the ones who build self-esteem from taking action and taking responsibility for their actions. A player understands that they do not have absolute control over everything. They realize that there are many things beyond her control and that their goal is to focus on the things she can control.

Other victims, on the other hand, are stronger by blaming others and fooling themselves into thinking they are perfect all the time. You'll see this a lot in the business world, where CEOs and managers blame external factors for their failures, rather than admitting their own shortcomings.

A sales executive named Esteban has a team of sales managers. He had just realized that the human resources department had arbitrarily scheduled employee vacations without consulting him. So he will be understaffed in February, the busiest month of the year.

In a fit of rage, Esteban insisted that the matter was the human resources department's fault, not his own. So he did nothing to improve the situation.

However, because Esteban was the only one to suffer the consequences, he was the one with the problem – even though he didn't create it in the first place. Instead of being the victim, he could have taken action to solve the problem.

So how can you go from victim to player? Let's start by using the player's language.

Instead of saying "there's no hope", say "I haven't found a solution yet". And likewise, instead of being passive and saying “I have to go” say “I want to go.”

In this way, you will become more and more aware of your own responsibility when considering the things going on around you. That's exactly what it's like to be a player!

To protect your own consistency, focus on the process more than the results.

Kids do whatever makes them happy without thinking too much about their goals or what they want to accomplish.

This attitude changes as we grow up. Most people become too focused on the outcome instead of the process.

In one study, when participants were asked to name people they admired, they rarely chose someone who was rich, powerful, beautiful, or even famous. That is to say, the participants did not select people whose characteristics are generally associated with success in Western culture.

But even when these traits don't affect us deep down, we tend to focus on them. And that is why we often mistakenly care more about the result than the process.

When an athlete loses a match, he still tries his best to score points – that's the process. We don't usually celebrate that effort, but we certainly can.

In fact, we should!

When you do something just for the sake of your belief, you will achieve something greater than success. Focusing on results will not allow you to achieve this level of success. You have to reveal the values ​​that lie deep within yourself to do that.

There will always be things that you wouldn't want to do, right? So, your actions will not only be tools to achieve a certain purpose – they will also represent your value. And that's how you build consistency, by continually acting on your values.

Barry is the manager of an automobile assembly plant with an assembly team. His team realized that a few machines manufactured by another factory were not performing as well as expected. When they went to see the manager of another factory, he was not interested in changing. And so Barry's team found a solution on their own.

From a process perspective, Barry's team succeeded. In fact, they've gone beyond success: Instead of sacrificing their value and replacing car parts, they stood firm and continued to find ways to improve.

Everyone sees the world differently; we should recognize, respect and learn from these differences.

Are you often frustrated because your co-workers don't see things the way you think they do? That can be difficult to accept but the reality is that everyone sees the world differently.

Psychologist Jean Piaget came up with the idea of ​​an experiment that is considered a classic of opinion. He gave the children wooden sticks with one side painted blue and the other red.

Then Piaget held a wooden stick with the red part facing him and the blue side facing the children, and asked them what color they saw.

The children answered “blue”. Then he asked them what color they thought he saw. Children under the age of 5 answered “blue”, while older children said “red”.

So older children have reached a point of development when they can change their perspective, see the world through the eyes of others.

However, just like younger children, we often forget that opinion is subjective. And this can be the main cause of conflicts in organizations.

So what's the solution? The main goal is to develop “ontological humility,” a state when you are able to perceive the point of view of others.

Cultural differences lead to different points of view and action. But just because someone else has a different approach doesn't mean it's less valuable than your own.

If you cannot recognize and respect these differences, it will lead to conflict and worse, damage.

In fact, a management study conducted by the Wall Street Journal in 1996 found that cultural differences in operating styles, communication, and customer relationships were the biggest problems. of most companies.

“You cannot judge a person until you are in his place”

Be frank about what you think and establish common ground with your audience.

This is quite sad but true. A lot of our conversations don't really make sense, but just overlapping monologues. We should say this, but we say that, and we often don't really listen to what the other person is saying.

This makes the “conversation” really unproductive – and working together seems impossible.

So how do you improve communication?

There are three levels for each conversation. First, there is the “task” or “problem” ahead. Then there are “relationships,” or emotional connections between two people. And finally the "me", or the difference of each person and the level of self-esteem.

When in a conversation with a business partner, you may feel threatened at each of these levels, especially in the "me".

And when this happens, you may withdraw or behave in an overly confident manner to protect your self-image. Sure, this is natural, but doing so will prevent you from exploiting your own point of view and freely exploiting the ideas of others.

Plus, this defense won't lead to good communication. To have effective conversations, you must establish common ground and say what you really think.

To that end, “effective expression,” that is, finding common ground, is the key to effective communication.

For example, if you have a conflict with an employee, express it effectively by having both sides describe the problem from their point of view. That way, you can try to work things out in a way that's fair to both of you.

Another way is to give facts. This will make it easier to establish a common voice.

Think of the difference between saying “Our advice desk has problems” and “Last month only twenty percent of calls were answered within 3 minutes.” The second sentence is factual, clear, and easy to understand and makes a good starting point for a productive conversation.

Resolve conflicts rationally – without denying or avoiding them – with constructive negotiation.

Have you ever had fun in an argument? Oh! Who is that? But the important thing is that when conflict is not properly resolved, it can have serious consequences.

But the most common method of resolving conflict in business is unfortunately to be profoundly wrong.

“Negative” is an example of bad handling. Denial is like closing your eyes when you climb a mountain, pretending the jagged cliffs don't exist. It may be safer than looking, but it's a lot more dangerous.

Many managers tell themselves that their employees work well together, but the reality is that the office is paralyzed with power struggles and indulging in toxic gossip.

“Avoidance” is another common misdirection. Instead of pretending that the problem doesn't exist, "avoidance" involves being aware of the problem but refusing to solve it.

Many managers also realize that conflict is slowing down progress and creating tension in the team, but instead of planning to solve the problem, they simply avoid it.

Both of these bad dealings are based on the assumption that any solution will have a winner and a loser or a weak compromise that no one wants. (Compromise is often talked about as a good thing, but it just means that no one really gets what they want.)

That mindset means there's no point in trying to resolve a conflict because the outcome is bound to disappoint someone. But you can resolve disputes positively if you negotiate constructively.

Constructive negotiation is a way of creating space for new possibilities, by encouraging people to be less aggressive and more cooperative. That is why an atmosphere of mutual learning is so important – without it, constructive negotiation seems impossible.

In order to trade consciously to succeed, learn to control your emotions.

There are many skills needed to manage your emotions. “Self-awareness” and “self-acceptance” are particularly important skills.

“Self-awareness” has a rather roundabout definition. It's about realizing that you're in control of your level of awareness. So when you say "I'm scared" you don't really mean the whole person you are afraid of. There is a part of you that is observing that fear.

And as you learn to be aware of that part of your observation, you'll have more control over your emotions. You will be able to “stand out” and observe, without having to act on the pressures that each emotion causes.

And by choosing which emotions to act on, you will become more responsible and trustworthy.

In short, self-awareness is about changing your perspective. Instead of seeing the world through your emotions, you can examine those emotions independently.

“Self-acceptance” is the realization that you have no control over how you feel. You can only change the way you act.

There is another way that will help you control your emotions – “forgiveness”.

Forgiveness doesn't mean you pretend everything is okay with you when it really isn't. It's also not that you display a hypocritical attitude.

Instead, forgiveness is simply about letting anger melt away and making space for positive change.

A conscious enterprise will consist of people who are self-aware and concerned with the welfare of the collective.

The first time the author lost his son to a Scrabble game, he realized something amazing: When you love your opponent, you don't feel like a loser.

And the author was wondering what if business was based on that rule?

Generally interest develops through several stages. The first stage is “selfish”: At this stage, we only care about our own happiness.

The second stage is “ethnic”, when an individual considers himself part of a community. Instead of only caring about their own happiness, they also care about the other members.

The third stage is “for the world”, when it is not just us but all of us in the world. Research indicates that only 15% of adults live up to this level of concern.

A handful of others have even reached the “for the sake of spirit” stage. Those people experience a wholeness that can change all short-sighted divisions. To them, all battles are cooperation and opposition is just an opportunity for everyone to become better.

Only half of 1% of the world's population is really "for the spirit"!

At this highest level of consciousness, everything you do becomes a game – and you don't play to win, you play to keep playing! This is the real purpose of business.

Of course you will have to make money and accomplish your goals, but your ultimate goal should be to develop and reveal your inner self.

In short, when you succeed in creating an organization with individuals who are accountable and feel their work is valued, you have gone beyond “business as usual” to create a business. really conscious.

“Only conscious leaders can revive the unconditional sense of responsibility in the followers and the whole organization.”


By creating space for personal values ​​in your business, you can build a company that is efficient, profitable and dedicated to the welfare and integrity of those around you. .