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The 7 Qualities of a Conscious Culture

(from Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia)

In the last three editions of our newsletter, I began to address the seven qualities that help shape a conscious culture in an organization. Using the mnemonic device TACTILE, those qualities are: trust, accountability, caring, transparency, integrity, loyalty and egalitarianism. In those previous editions, I shared the descriptors for the first three. Now I would like to describe the qualities associated with the last four.

In a conscious culture that is transparent, there are few secrets. From financial information to staffing decisions, “conscious firms embrace this reality and benefit from it”. We do live in a world in which most information of genuine significance soon becomes known, especially in a small organization. Transparency increases trust in an organization. Conscious organizations only withhold information that could be considered harmful if made public, especially information about a team member.

Probably the most important virtue of a conscious culture is integrity. Organizations and individuals that maintain a high standard of integrity practice a strict adherence to truth telling and fair dealing. More comprehensive than honesty, integrity goes beyond just telling the truth. It includes authenticity, fairness, trustworthiness and having the courage to do what one believes is true to his values and doing what is right despite the circumstances. Conscious organizations create an atmosphere of loyalty where all stakeholders are loyal to each other. Working in such an atmosphere, stakeholders practice more patience and understanding with each other when small blips or other unusual situations occur. Coupled with accountability, being loyal does not mean “blind fealty to those who fail to live up to expectations.”

Finally, conscious organizations maintain a sense of egalitarianism where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. All team members have input into how the organization is led, and leadership has an open door policy so that team members can communicate in an informal way.

As we begin our first full self-study for our WASC accreditation, we shall aspire to embed these characteristics as the framework of our organizational culture and to guide us through the ongoing improvement process. These are foundational attributes upon which we can build an effective school.