Which pillar of Conscious Capitalism is best represented by your business?
Describe how IGS aligns with Conscious Leadership
Our founders, Scott White and his father Marv, demonstrated and embraced Conscious Leadership long before the concept was defined as a tenet of Conscious Capitalism. The behaviors that define Conscious Leadership were intuitive to them but were not something that was expressly articulated. In the thirty years since our founding, Conscious Leadership has come to be a foundational element of our culture and our people development. A few years ago when Scott discovered the Conscious Capitalism movement, he saw the SELFLESS acronym reflected his own leadership style and that of other leaders here at IGS.
S – Strength
E – Energy and enthusiasm
L – Long-term orientation
F – Flexibility
L – Love and care
E – Emotional Intelligence
S – Systems intelligence
S – Spiritual Intelligence
Today, Scott is intentional about living and developing other IGS leaders around the SELFLESS principles. And he is committed to his own continued Conscious Leadership growth and development. Scott participated in the Stagen Leadership Academy, a year-long program that trains leaders committed to long-term personal development and using their organizational platforms for positive impact. Other members of our executive team are now going through the same program. We are now thinking about leveraging the IGS executive leaders who have completed the program to train mid-level leaders throughout the organization as a way of keeping their own SELFLESS skills sharp.
Why have you aligned your business with this (or other) pillars?
In short, because it gets results. Conscious leadership is what leads to conscious culture and it is required to think about our stakeholders and our higher purpose.
When guests walk into IGS, they often tell us that they can feel the warm and caring culture. This is an extension of the love and care that our employees show to one another. And that begins with leaders.
Can you share some challenges in aligning this way?
Conscious leadership can be challenging. It takes a higher level of intention, presence and mindfulness. It takes vulnerability and trust.
Getting the leaders throughout our business to think long-term, for example, is something that we have to consistently talk about because we live in a world that’s oriented toward short-term thinking. Scott delivers a regular update to the business and puts an emphasis on the company’s commitment to long-term thinking. This reminds others throughout the business that they, too, have permission to think in terms of years and not quarters.
We also know that not everyone is ready to be a Conscious leader. There have been times throughout our thirty years when it became clear that some leaders did not believe in or follow the Conscious Leadership principles. And in some cases, that’s resulted in difficult decisions to exit those people from the company.
What advice might you have for businesses considering aligning with the principles?
Conscious leadership is something that any leader at any level can embrace and practice. But in order for a company to have a Conscious culture, it requires Conscious leadership at the highest level.
How have your employees benefitted from this approach?
We have exceptionally high engagement scores – generally around 95% of IGS employees say they are proud to work at IGS and would recommend a friend or family member to work with us. We attribute this to our wonderful culture and that starts with Conscious Leadership.