Bringing in Reinforcements
With the help of Nathan Havey, a consultant, Meghan and her team clarified the company’s purpose, which is to: Redefine success in business in service of all life. They crafted a compelling statement of their core values, which are: treat people beautifully, choose joy and love, take pride in the product, practice radical trust and courageous patience, be authentic, stay open and curious, and walk the talk. They also came up with cultural norms and practices to adhere to on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to ensure that they would stay true to their purpose and live their core values.
Meghan made a deep commitment to her own personal development. She got a coach and a therapist, adopted daily meditation and yoga practices, and started journaling. The organization healed quickly from the trauma of the previous year and started to blossom. The new cultural practices helped greatly.
For example, with a geographically dispersed team, the week begins every Monday with a virtual team meeting that opens with a personal check-in; people talk about how they’re doing as humans and what they are most grateful for right now. The meeting ends by talking about the personal purpose of each of the team members (Meghan’s is to be a force of love). They share their highs and lows, what they were proud of and not so proud of from the previous week in staying true to their personal purpose. On Fridays, the team focuses on the company’s purpose and values and goes through a similar conversation about highs and lows. The company practices radical transparency, recognizing that anything people are going through at home will affect them at the office. Team members are able to bring any difficulties or traumas they are going through in life into the workplace and talk about them as a team. The focus is, “What do we need to do to support you?” The difference between the new culture and the old culture is profound.
Imagine a world where the organization that you’re either building or you’re working within can be one in which you don’t have to suffer alone, but you can actually go to your team for support. You can actually be in a place of caring and compassion when you go into the workplace. In [the first week after having a miscarriage], Meghan took time off from work to take care of herself and recover her energy. By modeling self-care, she makes it easier for others in the organization to do the same when necessary.
The Role Leaders Play in Establishing Values and Defining Purpose
Leaders can help create and shape healing cultures, and those cultures then help heal everybody, including the leader. Businesses can only rise to the level of consciousness of the leader. If leaders are in trauma, the organization will be in trauma. Meghan reflects, As I get to know fellow founders and CEOs, when you actually peel away the veneer, there’s so much suffering going on at the highest levels. Leaders aren’t expected or encouraged to discuss their loneliness and anxiety. The pressures of being a leader are intense: You are responsible for the profitability of your company; you are responsible for your workers’ well-being and safety; you are responsible for your own work. And, of course, on top of all that responsibility, being a CEO doesn’t make you immune from life traumas.
Business is the largest aggregator of human potential on the face of the planet. It’s the place where we spend the majority of our waking hours, and if we can actually have organizations that are addressing societal issues and also creating workplaces where people feel valued and appreciated, then people are going home and feeling a sense of excitement about their work rather than dreading it. That energy comes home and that spreads from homes out to communities and from communities out to the world. If everyone had the pleasure of being able to work at a purpose-driven enterprise, I think it would be one of the largest levers for change that we could possibly see in the world right now.
Supporting the leaders who are behind those purpose-driven enterprises and making sure that they have the support and the care and the nurturing that they need is one of the most important things that we could be doing. By integrating her healing ideals with her leadership of the company while now generating consistent profit, Meghan and Conscious Company Media are indeed redefining success in business in the service of all life.
Excerpted with permission from The Healing Organization by Raj Sisodia and Michael J. Gelb, copyright Raj Sisodia and Michael J. Gelb.