One aspect of exploring consciousness is to look at sleep. When we sleep, our physical senses are largely switched off. We also dream. Confusing our dreams with reality is a state of self-delusion. Organisations and businesses can enter varies kinds of “sleep”. They can be asleep TO something, or deluded ABOUT something. The following simple model suggests some different ways a business or organisation can be asleep, or in a kind of waking dream, that compromises the quality of its consciousness. They are asleep to what the business really needs.
Here’s a simple activity. Work through the list below with an organisation you know as an example. You can also use the model for yourself as a freelancer or one person business (focus here can be on your client base, your community, colleagues and associates). Score each item, from 0-10, where zero represent “I am/We are not asleep at all” and 10 “We are out cold or utterly self-deluded”. Think of examples to support your score. Share your scores in pairs or groups. Of course the scores are subjective and largely instinctive. But the they do help give a sense of where the organisation is sleeping, where its consciousness needs to be improved.
The sleep of repetition YOUR SCORE:
The organisation loses awareness of the need for change and improvement; energy and motivation diminishing through lack of variety in the work. There’s little or no healthy rhythm in the repetition of work. The individual becomes habitualised to their work. Repetition loses mindfulness and results in: tiredness, boredom, mindlessness, lack of attention to error, lack of awareness of innovation and improvement potential
The sleep of prisoners YOUR SCORE:
The organisation has created complying robots with little real creative space. The individual gets used to working within boundaries and ceases to question them nor seek further creative space or span of control.
The sleep of technology YOUR SCORE:
The organisation automates and becomes reliant on “systems” that it doesn’t fully understand. There is no “manual control” in reserve. The individual becomes technology dependent in ways that reduce individual, real time initiative. Energy falls as we work as “couch potatoes”.
The sleep of collusion YOUR SCORE:
The organisation creates a comfort zone where challenge is no longer a norm. We exchange mediocrity for honesty and truthfulness. The individual colludes with this mediocrity and the average is relabelled as excellent. We dilute risk, avoid uncomfortably honesty. We give up on revolution. We stop seeking out the radical, the new and the different.
The sleep of fear and insecurity YOUR SCORE:
The organisation creates a culture of fear. It fears criticism and honest feedback. It mistrusts the motives of staff, suppliers and even customers. Individuals become over-cautious, covering their backs, developing a habitual belief in staying safe and avoiding risk. Innovation, real collaboration and vulnerability go out of the window.
The sleep of burnout YOUR SCORE:
The organisation is simply tired. It’s culture is de- or unmotivated and there’s a tiredness with new initiatives. Individuals avoid new projects, tend to be change resistant, focusing on trying to get the current job done and not taking on anything new. The organisation and its people are at low physical and mental energy levels. No time for rest.
The sleep of greed YOUR SCORE:
The organisation becomes compulsively greedy, aiming to profit or sales maximise over all else. It loses its longer term view, lacks patience and cannot nurture ideas over time. Individuals are narrow target driven and lose awareness of more subtle ways to develop relationships and manage change.
The sleep of complacency YOUR SCORE:
The organisation is simply used to the way it does things. It is over-confident in its strategies and systems, unwilling to change or “rock the boat”, believing that what has served it well in the past will continue to serve it well long into the future. Any change must be incremental. Individuals are risk-averse, rewarded for “not rocking the boat”.
The sleep of following and plagiarism YOUR SCORE:
The organisation largely takes it cue from what others are doing – its competitors and others in its field. It copies, usually legally, and follows the field. It has no “core of originality”, and may not even believe in one. Individuals tend to go with the pack, wait for others to act, and keep their radical ideas to themselves.
The sleep of ego and arrogance YOUR SCORE:
The organisation believes it is the best, leader in its field, that most other people are fools, or below it in some way. It believes in “sticking to its guns”, even when it is failing. It changes reluctantly and even sulks. Some individuals play power games, prioritise their own performance and image over all others, losing awareness of the bigger picture and are closed to other perspectives.
The sleep of misinformation YOUR SCORE:
The organisation doesn’t have all the information it needs. The grapevines distorts matters, or it is out of touch by nor having accurate or real-time information. It acts of falsehood, exaggeration or distortion. Individuals run around like headless chickens, or act on local information only, not linked to a bigger, more conscious picture.
The sleep of idealism and dreaming YOUR SCORE:
The organisation is tied to a vision or mission, a product, service offering, or organisational design that is too fixed, self-deluded, tied to the past, or driven by the ego of a leader. Individuals act as if they are in cloud cuckoo land, over-forecast, or are driven by subjectivity and emotion alone.
The sleep of narrow-mindedness YOUR SCORE:
The organisation is tied too tightly to one model, one product or service concept. Its culture is too narrowly focused or its view or the market too limited. Individuals recycle the same ideas, approaches and the culture is rooted in limited ideas, language and values.
The sleep of power, control and authority YOUR SCORE:
The organisation is dominated by hierarchical control is slave to its over-fixed systems (“Computer says no!”). Certain individuals dominate and threat of exit creates unthinking compliance. People find solace in grudges and minimalising. Individuals get used to “towing the line” and cease to challenge or question in order to keep their jobs. They are rewarded for blind compliance.
The sleep of rules and bureaucracy YOUR SCORE:
Rules determine decisions, even if those rules are out of date or out of touch. The system becomes more important that internal and external needs and real priorities. Rules deaden the ability of individuals to act on personal initiatives, limiting creativity and innovation. Rules get in the way of spontaneity. People start to follow them automatically and energy is wasted on paper trails and bureaucracy.
Businesses and organisations, like people, can fall asleep. The sleep state is really a metaphor for a state in which an organisation loses the ability to consciously sense what it going on inside or outside of it. The sleep state can be more or less “deep”. The sleep state can also involve a kind of dreaming – in the case of an organisation, it is a sort of waking dream – it can confuse the dream state with reality.
An organisation can be “woken up”. Waking up can be done in many different ways – from the dangerous shake-up or shock, to a more gentle waking, which involves the organisation “opening its eyes” and realising it was asleep or dreaming. Many of the resources in the Conscious Business Realm on this web site can help an organisation or business “wake up” and become conscious.
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