3 June 2013

Conscious / Enlightened Business - Love is Art, Eileen Fisher & Google - Case studies

Love Is Art atelier Dublin Conscious Coffee and Cakes
Love is Art atelier Dublin - conscious Art, Cakes and Coffee - example of an enlightened local Irish business
I've just watched a wonderful conversation about enlightened business between Eileen Fisher and Eckhart Tolle. Eileen Fisher runs a clothing company based in the US that employees 1,000 people who design, make and distribute clothes, shoes and accessories.

So what is an enlightened business?
  • A conscious company that gives equal importance to various factors and involves a kinder, more awakened state of relating to people.
  • Consideration should be given to employees, suppliers, customers, profit, environment and the Ecosystem the company operates in.
  • About profits - there is nothing wrong with making money as long as it's not the one overriding concern of the business.
  • The goal is to create a friendly, nurturing environment, that focuses on the well being of the people working in the company - to develop, contribute and feel that they belong.
  • Overall a flatter structure - teams/circles working together, perhaps with no titles or less focus on above/below management  - cutting out competition between employees.
  • Concept of "work" replaced with acceptance or "conscious doing" trying to help employees cut out stress or illness.
  • Less "Yang" (Male energy) replaced with the more powerful "Yin" or female energy.
These issues are all treated with equal importance so the company does not operate as an egoic entity any more. HR becomes crucial and the above implies that when you hire people, it requires a certain degree of presence to know who to invite to join the company (people who are all ready conscious and don't bring in massive ego's which perhaps during the interview process might be cleverly hidden etc...).

Eileen Fisher outlined what her company does as a conscious business:

  • Profit sharing for the employees - 25 - 35% of profits are distributed to the employees so that they have ownership and feel they belong.
  • Before each meeting they take a moments silence.
  • 70% of employees are women.
  • Overall Eileen Fisher has a flatter management structure with no or few titles.
  • She described working with suppliers in China to make the manufacturing process safer and better for the environment and ensuring employees in Chinese factories looked after properly. (safer dyes, new processes Eileen Fisher set up uses significantly less water and less energy).
  • The team are treated in a holistic way which leads to low staff turnover - Eileen Fisher work really hard to keep people and move people around in the company (either to motivate them, if they are unhappy in a position or to help manage work life balance).
  • They have Caring committees, charity / grant committees set up and run by the employees. 
  • Staff are given space and help if they are having an off day.

Eileen Fisher have a rigorous hiring process that they've refined over the years - They aren't just looking at the resume or experience but at the whole person - similar to how Google hire by looking at your "Googleyness" :"We want to get a feel for what makes you, well, you. We also want to make sure this is a place you’ll thrive, so we’ll be looking for signs around your comfort with ambiguity, your bias to action and your collaborative nature." Source Google's hiring process: http://www.google.ie/about/jobs/lifeatgoogle/hiringprocess/

Profits tend to increase if you're not concerned about profits. There are more important things in business - the human side and the consciousness behind it. By engaging people, the net result for Eileen Fisher is an incredibly profitable company.

Google

Moving onto Google - In a very intimate and relaxed questions and answers session at Google I/O 2013 (Google's developer conference), Google's CEO Larry Page explained how Google are having difficultly hiring female software engineers. Asked about this issue, Page answered: "we've been super focused on that forever" - trying to make sure our company doesn't end up all male, which I think is a really really bad thing, The only thing is that we need to get young women and girls really excited about technology and we'll more than double the rate of progress in the technology world." - this relates to the Yin and Yang and reducing male energy is a good thing for the enlightened business.

Google also looks after it's people - Some of the core experiences Google provides it's staff are pretty amazing and it's clear that they understand enlightened business and that it is indeed good business. For example, Google provide free food, sleep cubicles (if employees are tired on the job), GYM and creche services, 20% of each persons time can be spent on a personal project  etc... Just some of many other benefits.

In terms of perhaps not taking titles, or itself too seriously, there is a person in google who's official job title is "Jolly Good Fellow" and on the back of his business card its printed "Which nobody can deny".

As discussed above HR is crucial and Google's hiring process is incredibly well rounded - and focuses on the person not just on the college or experience. They take it so seriously, Larry Page still signs off on every employee they hire.

Presence and Enlightened Small Business

Love is Art atelier Dublin based at 3 Great Stand street, is a great example of a local Irish business that connects with the principles of conscious business. At Love is Art - attention is paid to every little detail (even details that may outwardly appear insignificant). The space, the time, energy and connection with every customer is simply incredible and at a very deep spiritual level.

Each coffee is literally a work of art and the Bailey's coffee is without a doubt the best in Ireland. A visit to their facebook page and the interaction from their customers easily confirms the warmth and love and healing they receive when they visit Love is Art. https://www.facebook.com/LoveIsArtAtelier

They are giving people space - a very rare thing.

Ireland has been and still is a place of intense energy - the intensity of energy in this country throughout the boom and now in the collapse and the austerity has been difficult to live with.

You could say Ireland went through a period of complete unconsciousness and identification with form and ego.


It is wonderful to find more people and businesses who are not as identified with the egoic mind.

Perhaps we are ready for something else now.

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