Archive | March, 2013

Setting Shared Outcomes for Conscious Business

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As John Mackey and Raj Sisodia point out in their recent book; ‘Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business’, “Win-win relationships between all stakeholders correlate to better customer experiences, less employee turnover, higher engagement, lower overhead, higher profits and sustained growth.”

Simply pointing out the benefit to the other side, if they join you in your outcome, can determine the result. Sometimes win-wins are not obvious.

Here is an example from a participant in our “Negotiation Excellence” seminar that I taught at the United Nations. A representative from a small African country asked me to have a drink after class. He wanted to ask me how to ask his boss for a raise.

“Do you need more money to live on in New York?” I replied, looking for more information.

“No. No. I have plenty of money. I need a raise in my designated level. I am a 3, and I need to be a 5 to negotiate with key people in other countries.”

“3’s cannot negotiate with 5’s?”

“That’s right. We can say, “Hello”, but we cannot negotiate a contract or agreement.”

“Why wouldn’t your boss raise you a level?”

“ I have only been here a few months. Takes time to earn a new level. Traditionally, you only get raised one level at a time. He may think I am after his job.”

“Are you?”

“Of course not. He is a 6, and all I want is to be able to represent my country in negotiations with 5’s. That’s where the important agreements are finalized.”

“Would it be helpful to him if you could negotiate with these other delegates?”

“Of course, yes.”

“Then open your request with this, the advantages to him of your being a 5.”

“Good idea. He knows, deep down, I do not want his job. It’s a hard job.”

“Then do it.” He paid for the drinks.

The next morning in class, his voice reflected his excitement and enthusiasm as he told the class about his early meeting with his boss in which he showed his boss how moving him up two levels would benefit his country and his boss. He got the new designation, and I got a class of non-resisters to our modules on outcome setting and dove-tailing (win-win outcomes).

Any time you are helping the other person attain their goals at the same time you attain your own goals, you are setting up a win-win, and taking responsibility for yourself and for them. This works to make the agreement hold up, every time.

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My Introduction to Conscious Capitalism

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When I first designed and began teaching “Influencing with Integrity” over 30 years ago, I had never heard of the idea that business had any other goal except to make profits. I had been a salesperson, an airline stewardess, an accountant’s assistant, a retail store owner, an advertising artist, a Yoga teacher, and the owner of a small shopping center.  All of these endeavors  (except for Yoga) had as their goal a pay check or rent check.

Oddly enough the seminar I created, taught, and promoted during those years was focused on training people to be conscious in their interactions with others, and to take responsibility for their actions.   It was such fun to show people the skills they need to get along with others, to achieve positive results and to enjoy their lives.  People skills.  How to understand one’s own motivations better, and how to set up rapport, even with people they maybe didn’t like but with whom they had to work.  Teaching this was satisfying.

Yes, my audience was primarily business, though our participants took the skills home and found they worked very well with teen-agers, angry spouses, difficult mother-in-laws, the butcher, the baker and the computer repair person.  Early on I was happy at the success of our programs, but I thought that undertaking research to measure and scientifically prove that we actually did change people in three days would improve our sales.  I administered a pre- and post-test to our participants that would indicate an increase in awareness of personal responsibility.  The test has only 16 questions so it is quick, but it is incredibly sensitive to a philosophical shift on the part of the participants.

My professor (I was an Education Ph.D candidate at the time) had found a sociology instrument for me, and it proved to be so useful for my dissertation research that I tried it on the first 11 classes of my new seminar.  The instrument is named “Internal/External Locus of Control” and has many studies proving its effectiveness.  Through my research I discovered that Externally Controlled personalities blame luck, chance or powerful other people for the events of their lives.  On the other hand, Internally Controlled people tend to take responsibility.

Internally Controlled people are also more successful, make better grades, gather more information, get well quicker, have a better sense of humor and are simply more fun to be around. Blaming others and bad luck for your situation is a downer for all.

Through our research we discovered that the people in our seminars showed a statistically significant shift toward Internal Locus of Control; in other words, they became more personally responsible.

Recently, three attendees showed up together for one of my seminars, and at the end, announced to me: “You are teaching Conscious Capitalism.”

“No”, I replied, “I am teaching “Influencing with Integrity.”

“Same thing,” one of them replied. They then explained the four principles of Conscious Capitalism: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership, and Conscious Culture.

“There is quite a degree of similarity.” I had to agree.  For example, our Module 3 is focused on “Outcome Setting and Elicitation.”  This means that, to be successful in interactions such as a negotiation, we recommend you: (1) set your outcome in sensory based terms, then (2) elicit the other’s outcome in their own sensory based terms, then finally (3) use creative thinking to find a way for both or all of you to reach your outcomes.

The goal of a conscious business approach is to create value for all stakeholders: employees customers, suppliers, investors, and the community at large.  I learned we’ve been training the skills and strategies needed for a conscious business approach decades before I knew about the Conscious Capitalism movement.  Rapport, awareness, dovetailing, diversity acceptance and creative thinking strategies are key skills needed to build a conscious organization from the inside out.

With over 50,000 graduates of “Influencing with Integrity” across 17 countries I have seen many examples and situations of people creating more positive outcomes after learning these skills, changing their businesses and their lives for the better.  Over the coming weeks we will post some of these stories in the hope that together we can build a more conscious business community.

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