Conscious Competence

It’s not the economy. Not the competition. It isn’t globalization (the increasing connectivity and interdependence of business). It’s not even the ever evolving and continually changing relationships between and among employees, their managers, and the organization itself.  A strategic partner of ours and bestselling author Jay Niblick nails it, “There is an epidemic of people who are frustrated, dissatisfied, unfulfilled, and not passionate about their work. That is the Problem.”

The Gallop organization reveals the level of engagement in our workforce:

  • 29% are actively engaged in work;
  • 54% passively disengaged;
  • 17% actively disengaged.

In other words, an astonishing 71% have the shades half-drawn or have checked out completely. The cost to the U.S. economy: hundreds of billions of dollars every year in lost productivity alone—not to mention how we suffer mentally, physically, and emotionally from unfulfilled lives. How much do you and your organization contribute?

We cultivated the Agricultural Revolution, coughed our way through the Industrial Revolution, and dot-comed our way to the Information Age. The good news, there’s a revolution brewing. We are at the precipice of a new dawn—a new age!

Patricia Aburdene, author of Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism, says: “When wealth is derived from a new source—say information rather than industry—a new economic era is born.” That new source is upon us. Aburdene calls it “the genius inherent in the human consciousness.” The bad news is we will fight this new wave—like we fight all change—every inch of the way! “The earth is flat.” “Electric lights are not worthy of serious consideration.” “This foolish idea about shooting at the moon is basically impossible.”  “To harness the energy locked up in matter is impossible.” Shall I continue?

Jay Niblick, Partricia Aburdene, Marshall Goldsmith (author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There), and many others agree from different vantage points about this revolution. Whether it is labeled consciousness, personal genius, or simply shattering old paradigms and mental models, the message is as clear as originally stated by Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Let’s add perspective: Consider the ‘war’ on poverty, drugs, or obesity. How’s that working for us? What about our current approach to healthcare?  It’s like the old quality control mentality of checking for defects after the product is assembled and ready to ship. We cannot improve the healthcare system by fixing people after they get sick. We must make a dramatic and extraordinary paradigm shift from a ‘healthcare’ to a ‘wellness’ mentality. This mentality bleeds into how we operate nationally as well as globally in all facets of our evolution. Abraham Maslow believed it was all about awareness. He made the case that we can’t change what we don’t know to change. “The eye cannot see the eye.”

What’s the message?  We have been wrestling with this leadership thing for the past 50 years. We have the information and knowledge of what to do. We know what to do we’re just not doing it.  If we don’t fix it, nothing else gets done! Leadership of others begins with leadership of self. Leadership of self begins with the evaluation of our total belief system and how it supports or refutes leadership competencies for today’s economy as well as for today’s knowledgeable worker. Niblick says, “Far too many people are still negatively affected by beliefs that don’t fit today’s reality.”

There is significant untapped potential that exists in each organization which lies deep within everyone who is part of that organization. Collectively, we make quantum leaps in performance in all areas of our lives. We must significantly alter the way we think, feel, and act as individuals to fully champion this New Age. We are the hope, not the same old tired, stale, and reactionary mentalities coming from, for the most part, our overly bureaucratic and self-serving corporations and government entities—groupthink at its worst. The challenge—indeed our charge—is discovering what can be done to unleash “the genius inherent in human consciousness.”

Grant Stewart