I returned recently from the C3 Summit in Austin TX – that’s the Catalyzing Conscious Capitalism Summit.  In attendance were some well known CEOs such as John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods, George Zimmer of Men’s Warehouse, and Casey Sheehan of Patagonia, to name just a few.  In addition, we had such luminaries as Jean Huston and Deepak Chopra as some of our keynote speakers.

What do these stalwarts of our capital system have to do with consciousness gurus such as Deepak and Jean?  Believe it or not these and the more than 100 other attendees came together because of the common belief that consciousness is the next competitive advantage for business in the 21st Century.

What exactly is consciousness?  It exists when we live in attunement with what we at Quantum Leaders call the Context field of energy.  This is the field of meaning and purpose, the underlying context for all that we do.  For some, this field remains unconscious and therefore unavailable to them.  Yet this field is rich in information that when accessed, can guide and direct any person and any organization to the most effective way to achieve their goals.

As one of the attendees described it, we are at a critical crossroads in business today.  We are all standing at the center of the intersection of where capitalism intersects with consciousness.  This is more than the traditional view of the socially responsible organization or even being environmentally friendly or “green”.  All of that is of course part of being a conscious capitalist, but being conscious recognizes more than just the actions one takes.

It begins to draw on the realization that we are all part of a collective whole and as such what we do to others has a direct impact on what happens to us.  Hmm, that sounds a lot like one of those spiritual rules often referred to as the Golden Rule.  Hence, one of the pillars of conscious capitalism is that we as business leaders are here in service to all our stakeholders.  Yes, I said “in service to”.  As today’s new conscious capitalists recognize, it is more about those we are here to serve than it is about serving ourselves.

And what guides our service to others? It is the second pillar of conscious capitalism, meaning and purpose.  At Quantum Leaders, we call this the Soulful Purpose of the organization; a purpose so core it touches the very soul of the organization and is in fact the very reason for its existence.  Like the acorn that recognizes its purpose is to ultimately become an oak tree, each individual and each living organization has a soulful purpose that will guide and direct its success.

The third pillar of conscious capitalism is leadership.  To the degree that the leadership for an organization has matured and developed along the three dimensions of functional skills, interpersonal skills and their own intrapersonal skills is the degree the leader will be able to create a consciously living organization.  Each of these domains of skills translates to the ability of the leader to manage the organization, to create collaborative team environments and inspire and motivate the workforce to become fully committed and engaged to the fulfillment of the organizations’ Soulful Purpose.

Some might say this is a new beginning; I however believe it is but the next step in the evolutionary process for individuals, organizations and our society as a whole.  For those of you who are interested here is a highlight video of the conference. I encourage you to watch and consider your own growth as an individual, a leader, and as an organization.

Throughout his professional career as a Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Director, and Advisor to CEOs, Norman Wolfe has successfully guided corporations through major transitions leading to substantial growth, market expansion and enhanced financial performance.