“A conscious, caring business actually takes people who are broken, burned out, stressed out, almost in a post-traumatic stress situation, and over time helps them become whole again. This is not about healing businesses; it is not about starting a yoga or a massage business. We are saying that any business at all, every single business, can be a healing business. It’s about business itself as a healing occupation, as a fundamentally healing activity,” Raj Sisodia from The Healing Organization.
I don’t typically think of business leaders as healers. As counterintuitive as this concept may sound, Raj makes the point in his upcoming book that because businesses have the ability to change people’s lives, healing through business is entirely possible. In fact, he moves on to assert that businesses are either hurting or healing people at any given time. While I advise caution about black and white thinking—leaving us in a conversation about “good” businesses and “bad” businesses (or worse, “good” people and “bad” people)—the idea that business leaders can do devastating harm or amazing help through their choices cannot be overstated.
Do you want to heal a struggling world through your work as a business leader? I’m thrilled to discuss accessible pathways to this concept with Raj and three CEOs in a couple of weeks on February 15 at Love & Humanity in Business: Creating a Caring Culture. Click here to see the details and register to attend.
Last week, I discussed examples from previous CEO Exclusive guests and our event panelists, delving into the details about how they show care through their deliberate choices as leaders. In this week’s article, I offer some insights on how businesses can restore individuals.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, “More than two thirds of children reported at least 1 traumatic event by age 16.” Here’s what the DHHS says the majority of kids have gone through:
- Psychological, physical, or sexual abuse
- Community or school violence
- Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence
- National disasters or terrorism
- Commercial sexual exploitation
- Sudden or violent loss of a loved one
- Refugee or war experiences
- Military family-related stressors (e.g., deployment, parental loss or injury)
- Physical or sexual assault
- Serious accidents or life-threatening illness
Guess what? Those kids do grow up and go to work. In fact, one of them may be sitting at the desk next to you. We don’t know what our colleagues have gone through. Many people are hurting. And while a business suit and business persona may mask trauma, it doesn’t transform it. What transforms and resolves these difficult life events is kindness and caring from other humans. Because we work in small groups of people during most of our waking hours, the workplace provides a unique opportunity to heal.
Am I advocating group therapy at work? No. What I am advocating is creating a business environment where people can experience trust, affirmation and community in ways that they may not have experienced elsewhere. This kind of environment is the caring, conscious culture talked about by all the high-growth companies I’ve had on CEO Exclusive. It bears repeating that this approach is *not only* altruistic, it’s very profitable. It allows businesses to get the best out of people.
Leaders Must be Intentional
Raj explains the importance of leadership, “Whether you have a healing organization or a hurting organization depends on the leader. You cannot have a conscious company without a conscious leader, and you cannot have a healing organization without a leader who has love in their heart and cares for people. What’s inside us gets manifested on the outside; the macrocosm is a reflection of the microcosm. We need leaders who actually care about people and purpose and reflect that in their organizations.”
A healing organization starts in the heart of the leadership. This truism is perhaps the biggest challenge for anyone who wants to see this philosophy extend into the mass conscious of the business community. While the idea is lovely, do most leaders have love in their hearts when they are looking at their income statements and balance sheets? When fear sets in or the opportunity to make money at the expense of the people around them—where is love at that moment?
We have to get beyond butterflies and rainbows and address the realities of tough decision making—with love. I want to help us all get beyond platitudes and into action. How do we do this? Continue this conversation with me on February 15. We’ll discuss specific examples of what companies are doing to heal their employees, their communities, and the world. I hope you’ll join us.
Love & Humanity in Business: Creating a Caring Culture with Raj Sisodia
February 15 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Click here to register.