Awakening

Official Book Launch – Today!

Official Book Launch – Today! 640 427 Catherine Bell

Today is the First Official Launch of THE AWAKENED COMPANY.  Please join us tonight at 7 pm.  I must admit I am so nervous about tonight.  How will we be received? Are people ready for this message?  Am I ready to give this message?  My heart is fluttering in anticipation.  I am so excited to have my family, friends, and one of my collaborators coming. I am so thankful other people are speaking and engaging.   How is tonight going to unfold?  Please join us.  My heart could use all the support possible!

Owl’s Nest Book Launch

Owl’s Nest Book Launch 1941 1214 Catherine Bell

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Hi there, just a friendly reminder that our First Official Book Launch is being hosted by Owl’s Nest Books on October 22nd at 7 pm at Christ Church.  You can find out more here.    Owl’s Nest Books is a local, independently owned book store that  believes there are  books that are worth talking about and worth reading. And worth owning.  We are very appreciative that they are  hosting this event.  Our friends from the Rubaiyat will be ensuring that the space provides the context for a lively discussion!   Please help us launch the book with our community rising!

fearlessly truthful

Awakened Companies Are Fearlessly Truthful

Awakened Companies Are Fearlessly Truthful 2000 1000 Catherine Bell

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Christopher Papadopoulos is a collaborator on The Awakened Company and is the author of PEACE and Where to Find It.  Here are some of his comments, which reflect the truth of The Awakened Company.  Enjoy!

Personal awakening involves a fearless search for the truth of who we are beyond the roles we play and the things we believe. It is the essential work that everyone is born to do. One of the most important realizations we have on the path to awakening is that there is no part of our lives that can remain hidden in the shadows and unevolved for too long. We may be quite composed and graceful in one part of our lives but lament that another part of our lives is a “train wreck”, suffocating us, and bringing out our worst behavior.

A business person who is growing in self-awareness knows that there is a point that a kind of spiritual stagnation can set in unless this fearless quest for authenticity and truth includes all aspects of their life including their business life.

A fundamental feature of awakening is the palpable sense that all of life is sacred and that we are all interconnected. It is from this felt realization that we begin to expand our definition of ‘self’ to include more people, more living things of every sort and even objects. Correspondingly, we begin to see the organizations we are involved with as living and sacred entities as well.

This is the natural progression from personal awakening to fostering an awakened company. Awakening executives know their personal evolution, their personal quest for peace and fulfillment, cannot advance unless they include their companies as a whole in the awakening journey. And just as the awakening executive relentlessly and honestly looks into every shadowy corner of their own life, the awakened company must be equally relentless and fearless in facing the truth about how humane and evolved it is.

The feeling of sacred connection that emerges with greater awareness contains some very familiar sentiments: gratitude, reverence, joy and love. Does your corporate culture and workspace reflect these sentiments? Do you revere, and yes, love your coworkers? Do you appreciate your employees and clients not just as “resources” or “assets” but as human beings? Is joy a priority?

Are you unabashedly honest about your marketing and advertising strategies? That is, do your campaigns showcase your products and services without deceiving and manipulating your target audience?

Can you say with confidence that your products and services are developed without exploiting vulnerable people or polluting the environment?

Is the company aware of its symbiotic relationship with the surrounding community and planet and does it resist using its power to lobby governments to neutralize the voice of citizens?

If you are earnest in your quest for organizational awareness answering “No” to any of the above is not a sign of failure but of success. To fearlessly question all of a company’s practices no matter what the truth is means the process of awakening has begun.

AESC

Executive Leadership Awakening – BlueSteps Interview

Executive Leadership Awakening – BlueSteps Interview 2560 588 Catherine Bell

BlueSteps‘ mission is to optimize your visibility to top executive search firms and to position you for the best executive jobs. Julia Salem of BlueSteps interviewed Catherine Bell on Executive Leadership Awakening. BlueSteps is AESC‘s career service for executives. You can find the interview here and reprinted below.

Leadership Awakening: An Interview with Executive Search Consultant, Catherine Bell

BlueSteps chats with Catherine R. Bell, co-founder of BluEra executive search, and author of the new book The Awakened Company.

catherine_bellIn your book you say “few today would argue that ‘business as usual’ is working well.” How can individual executives and employees become ambassadors for driving more awakened company practices?

Research shows that the more self-aware a person is, the higher performing they are. It begins with who are we and what we need to become to best serve the organization. This means truly knowing what our gifts are. So many times I have interviewed candidates who have a long list of positive traits, but never have something to work on. In practice, I have never met someone who doesn’t have something they need to work on! The moments where we begin to truly look at ourselves and our behaviours, our success and our failures, that is awakening. We need to be compassionate with ourselves during that process.

Modern leaders are finding their personal and work lives have become more and more intertwined. Your company, BluEra, has taken this into account when doing weekly staff check-in meetings. How and why do you think company leaders should facilitate effective check-ins that go beyond their work role?

The practice is called “Stars and Bones”, the term coined by my MBA colleague, Rob Beamish. Depending on the size of the team, you can allow more or less time. The point of this process is to find out what’s going well in your team’s lives and what’s going not so well.

I do have a funny, practical example of why this is important. I met with an executive team and the CFO was grumpy. No one knew what was going on with her. What was happening was that she was on a cleanse. People didn’t know, so they took it personally when there was no need. So by doing quick check-ins or “Stars and Bones”, we can acknowledge each other’s humanness.

About 75 percent of firms are gone after nine years, so clearly we’re missing something. We also have 80 percent employee disengagement in companies. We need to focus on what we need to do to bring humanity and wholeness into organizations. We should be building something meaningful and important.

“Too much emphasis is put on…the bottom line. This doesn’t really motivate people…”
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How can executives leverage self-awareness for their own success as well as the success of their organization?

Self-awareness: there aren’t many people who aren’t interested in learning more about themselves. By learning more about yourself, you learn where your blind spots are. If you know where those spots are, you can work with people who are strong in those areas. If you can round out your team in that way, you’re all going to be better. Empirical evidence shows the more diverse a team is, the higher performing it is.

Self-awareness is pivotal, but it isn’t for financial success—it’s for the experience of learning and growing and being open-minded. Too much emphasis is put on the financial aspects of a business and the bottom line. This doesn’t really motivate people because the increased income goes to shareholders and a small number of people at the top of an organization.

Executives need to take the time to expand their self-awareness, whether it’s through, for example, meditation or 360 reviews. So much of our culture is focused on constant growth. We’re becoming a virus on the earth. We need to take some time and think about what’s fundamentally important. Too often it’s grow or die.

There is a different way of being. We can do this, organizations are the way to solve many of our current ills. At BluEra, we do stillness breaks. There is a yoga room and we come together and do meditation, no one is forced, it is by choice. I also begin sessions with executive teams and board of director meeting with meditation. I start by sharing the research and explaining the benefits. When I first started, I was nervous; but now many of these executives and board directors are sharing this with their own teams.

Research shows that mindfulness reduces employees’ stress, increases emotional intelligence, increases productivity, lowers impulsivity, and so on. We know there are many benefits, yet there’s always this knowing/doing gap.

“When looking at all the different companies that haven’t survived…the list is long. We can do better.”
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What benefits are non-awakened companies missing out on? What’s the first step an executive in the organization can take towards awakening?

When looking at all the different companies that haven’t survived or have declared bankruptcy, you can see that the list is long. We can do better. Typically organizations don’t last beyond ten years. We don’t seem to be learning. The whole system needs to change. And the first step begins with ourselves, self-awareness combined with mindfulness, then our relationships, and of course everything is interdependent. However, here is some practical advice for organizations:

The organization needs to be energized. What is your vision? Why do you exist? So many organizations talk about how profitable they will be, but they need to go deeper. What need is your organization going to fill? Why are you in business? This vision needs to be created within a community because what we support, we have to create; and what we create, we support.

It’s also important to ensure that you sustain the vision. Here at BluEra, we take the opportunity to reinforce our vision in creative ways. For example, we have an “evolve and awaken” t-shirt. It’s important to remember why we’re in business. Making money isn’t a good enough reason itself.  Go deeper, inquire, and get curious about how you are fulfilling a need.

Remember to take the time to regenerate your initiatives by examining what you need to stop, continue and start doing.

In your book, you talk about the fact that “much of our leadership and business culture needs to be turned on its head.” Can you give any examples of current leadership practices that executive leaders should focus on changing and what that change looks like?

When we look at the research in terms of leadership, I like to speak about the transformational leadership model. Leaders aren’t spending enough time in one-on-one meetings (individualized consideration) with their direct reports. One of the top reasons many people leave an organization is because of their direct reports. A good golden nugget for leaders is to occasionally have town hall meetings. But more importantly, take the time to do one-to-one coffee meetings to have real conversations.

Another thing leaders need to embrace is discomfort. For example, in the beginning, trying to be mindful is uncomfortable. However, based on the research, it’s the right thing to do. We need leaders to take a bold stance to communicate what they aren’t good at.
How can executive candidates seek out awakened companies when seeking their next opportunity?

I would look at their vision and see if it’s in alignment with who you are. Then look at whether the values are clearly articulated and see if you fit. Look for open mindsets versus closed mindsets. Are people open to learning, growing, and having a joyful and fun experience? It’s a matter of not being so focused on the compensation. We need to go deeper and more fully understand ourselves, our relationships, and our organizations so that we all awaken together.

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I leave you with this one consideration: what is one thing you want to awaken in yourself, how can that be aided by the organization you are in and how can you help the organization?

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Check out Catherine’s new book, The Awakened Company.
AN EVOLUTIONARY LEAP from the “business is business” mantra that stifles creativity, neglects human wellbeing, and treats work as separate from the rest of life. Businesses can be prosperous, sustainable, caring, interlocking communities that benefit all their stakeholders and investors — those who work in them, the communities they serve, the international community, and the planet. The Awakened Company comes at a time of crisis in the business world, as evidenced by the most recent financial meltdown, which was a cry for help from a bipolar boom-bust business model that’s failing. From a mentality of profits first and growth at all cost, those in the know in the business world are coming to the realization this approach is no longer sustainable.
Click here to learn more.

Namaste

Namaste Interview with Catherine Bell

Namaste Interview with Catherine Bell 1500 344 Catherine Bell

Namaste Interview with Catherine Bell

Namaste Publishing interviewed Catherine Bell  on The Awakened Company. You can read the article here or reprinted below.

A global conversation on awakening in organizations has begun!

Namaste: You entitled your book The Awakened Company. What exactly do you mean by the term “awakened” when you use it in a business context?

Catherine: You often hear it said that “business is business,” or that something is “just business.” All kinds of things take place in the name of “business” that aren’t necessarily beneficial in their impact on other aspects of life. Sometimes whole communities are destroyed. A fundamental premise of The Awakened Company is that business can never be “just business,” but is in some way connected to each and every dimension of our lives. An awakened company is therefore aware of its impact on the whole of life.

To be aware of its effect on the whole of life, a company needs to be in touch with what’s occurring in real-time, which includes the needs of the moment, but also with trends that are on the horizon. For instance, it was one thing to build factories with chimneys that belched smoke into the air at the start of the industrial revolution, when we didn’t understand the impact of how we were polluting the atmosphere and what the long-term consequences might be, whereas it’s quite another to do the same today. An awakened company is one that’s looking at all the ways it affects our lives, including potential effects on the future. In a sense, it is continual awakening.

Namaste: When you speak of the “whole” of life, say more about the kinds of things you have in mind.

Catherine: I am speaking of our lives personally, relationally, environmentally, technologically, communally, and globally. We think of companies as having stakeholders. Usually when we refer to a “stakeholder,” we have in mind those who have a financial interest in a company. However, the stakeholders in any company are much broader. They include the community in which a company operates, the people it sources materials from, the people it provides goods or services to, the people who work in the company, the environment in which it operates, and much more. An awakened company is in touch with the needs of all its stakeholders, not just those whose focus is the bottom line.

Namaste: Would you say that companies are more awake or less awake today than they have traditionally been?

Catherine: It’s a mix, but overall I see some promising signs that more companies are awakening, while others are becoming aware of the need to awaken, since they recognize that the way most businesses operate today simply isn’t sustainable. On the one hand we are seeing some extremely successful household names shift to awakened business practices, while on the other many companies seem to put in place more and more impersonal rules, give their people less and less power to make decisions, and increasingly function more like machines than communities of people. Rules trump personal service in all too many cases today.

Namaste: Doesn’t a company need to have set standards, or rules, about how it functions and how it relates to the public?

Catherine: Yes, of course. But this doesn’t justify a company becoming rule-bound and time-bound, so that it’s no longer relevant in terms of the customer’s needs or employees because those who are in touch with the public simply have no power to make wise decisions that are in the company’s best interests. An awakened company evolves to match the reality of this moment in time, as well as envisioning where the future lies. To achieve this, it seeks to empower its people, seeing everyone as a leader. In this way a company is responsive to the needs of the moment, as well as mindful of the future, and can switch gears when necessary. Awakening, then, isn’t a state but an ongoing process, so that the awakened company is anything but a fixed entity. It throbs with the life of real people.

Namaste: Speak to the individuals who work in awakened companies. How are they different from the workers in the majority of companies?

Catherine: An awakened company consists of individuals who are aware of the big picture and where they fit into it. People are deeply self aware, the culture reinforces this self awareness, they have a deep understanding of the organizational vision, and have a learning mindset. They in essence combine mindfulness with self awareness. People who are aware are what’s going to transform the very nature of what we consider “work.” In those companies that are already awakening, the entire organization— from the CEO to the publicists, technicians, secretaries, and janitors— functions harmoniously. A collegial spirit prevails in which each values the other, engaging in interaction that regards colleagues as precious individuals, so that we each recognize and honor one another’s humanity. This in turn spills over to suppliers, customers, and the wider public in a manner that enhances the wellbeing of all, since all of these are a company’s real stakeholders.

An awakened company is therefore an organization that has moved from “me” to “we” in its thinking and practices. The leaders of such companies no longer see those who work in the company, the communities they serve, or the planet itself in terms of mere resources to be merchandized.

Namaste: What moved you to write this book? And why now?

Catherine: As someone who has worked since I was young in an array of work settings, I have experienced anger, rage, fear, disengagement, and deep sadness over the behavior of many organizations. I have seen the pain people suffer in these organizations. The saddest aspect of many a corporate work experience is that such distress is entirely unnecessary. That it doesn’t have to be this way is clear from how companies thrive when they move away from the model of “business is business” that causes this distress.

It’s because I’ve seen so much sickening behavior in organizations that I started BluEra. I saw how business could be fundamentally different and wanted to put these insights into practice. As the founder of a globally- focused, multimillion dollar consulting firm specializing in executive search, team transformation, and coaching, I helped build dynamic teams in a variety of organizational settings from small start-up companies to Fortune 500 firms. By interviewing thousands of senior executives on the hunt for talented leadership, our team uncovered common characteristics of awakened individuals: open-minded and open-hearted, yet have a sense of clear decisiveness; tenacious in their commitment to grow and learn both personally and professionally; compelled by a vision that overrides fear and incorporates different possibilities; not satisfied with the status quo, always exploring new possibilities; deeply aware of the interdependence and interconnection of all things.

The book comes at a time when there’s a crisis in the business world. From an era of profits first and growth at all cost, businesses and the people within business are coming to the realization this is no longer working. The Awakened Company offers practical ways and useful examples from business, community, social, and academic leaders to take business to a new and awakened level through the merging of wisdom traditions, including mindfulness and yoga, with best practices in business. The depth, scope, and practicality of the book set it apart from other books on business.

Namaste: Do you have particular qualifications that made you the right fit for authoring such a book about business?

Catherine: In terms of traditional qualifications, I have a BA in sociology from Western University, an MBA from Queen’s, certification in the Enneagram, an advanced certificate in Executive Search Consulting from Cornell University, have completed the Institute of Corporate Directors NFP Governance Essentials Program, and am a certified yoga instruct or. I have started a company and worked for a large organization.

Recently the firm that I founded was rated as one of the fastest growing organizations and as a best workplace. I’m currently doing research in mindfulness with a leading university. As well, I have done all of this while being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, active volunteer, and community member, perhaps some of the most potent qualifications of all.

Namaste: Tell us about your collaborators.

Catherine: I chose not to go it alone, but to work with Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos. Russ is a well-established author and lecturer who sold over a million copies of his previous book and has awakened hundreds of thousands of people. Chris, also an author and teacher, has seen the launch of his book PEACE—And Where to Find It this fall, also from Namaste Publishing.

In a nutshell, The Awakened Company is a collaboration between three individuals well versed in and deeply concerned about the present state and future direction of organizations. Indeed a whole community has rallied around awakening in organizations. My editor, David Ord and publisher, Constance Kellough have been powerful forces in the book too, not to mention the amazing contributors! Indeed a community rising!

Namaste: What do you see as the future of business?

Catherine: From one-person enterprises to multinational corporations, organizations are the principal vehicle for supplying the world’s needs and have the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Almost anything significant in the world is done in organizations.

Namaste: You are saying that organizations are the solution?

Catherine: We are the solution. However, despite being woven into every part of our lives, the approach to business often leaves much to be desired. For instance, no small number of companies tend not to be good at surviving. Witness the fact that the majority of businesses die before they are ten years old! With such a high rate of attrition, we have to wonder how the current “business as usual” mentality of many companies sets employees, clients, and customers up for success. Instead, it results in a bipolar boom-bust economy. How can such instability, with all the ups and downs it causes in the marketplace, create thriving communities?

The production and distribution abilities of corporations have achieved marvels. But shouldn’t organizations that are so integral to every part of our day and every aspect of our lives reflect the highest values and the very best of what it means to be human? Is the current model really the best we can do?

Namaste: You are seeing real change in the business world?

Catherine: In the course of writing this book, we were excited to discover just how many business leaders are aware of the severity of the problem— and how many of them share with us the simple realization that we not only can do better, but that some of the leading corporations are already pioneering a new business model, with amazing results.

The writers talked with business leaders about what works and what doesn’t. They chose to interview those breaking new ground—leaders in organizations like Zappos, Queen’s University, Selco India, Me to We, Free the Children, USC Marshall School of Business and Culture Sync, McGill, MIT, Renewal Funds, and Patagonia. The companies we interviewed span the globe.

Our desire is to launch a global conversation on awakening in organizations.

We care.

Mindful Culture

The Importance of Mindful Culture for Start Ups

The Importance of Mindful Culture for Start Ups 300 168 Catherine Bell

 

Paul Zelizer, Co-Founder and CEO of Wisdompreneurs shares lessons learnt about corporate culture for The Awakened Company.

One of the biggest trends of the past decade in the start up space is the Lean Start Up movement. Through a combination of careful observation and research, leaders like Eric Reis and Steve Blank have helped map out an approach to launching an enterprise that increases success and decreases the time spent flailing around.   I think that’s a great thing – unless you LIKE failing around. J
This is a huge service to the startup world. We now have a road map to better organizing the conversations and iterations that lead to a profitable company.

And yet, much of the conversation in the start up world reminds me of the culture at Google that Search Inside Yourself author Meng Tan describes. Meng talks about how Google and other tech companies were constantly “looking outside ourselves” for increased effectiveness and profitability.   As someone with a lifelong interest in awareness practices, Meng couldn’t help but wonder what kind of benefits would be available to companies if they would consider the research about “searching inside ourselves first”.

For instance, research done by TalentSmart when they placed emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Because of results like these, the conversation about self-awareness and emotional intelligence in larger business settings are rapidly growing. Google has Search Inside Yourself. LinkedIn has it’s Compassion in Business project. Arianna Huffington has launched GPS for the Soul.

Yet the conversation in the startup world about the importance of awareness and Emotional Intelligence practices seem to be lagging behind.

Business leaders like Arianna Huffington and Seth Godin have begun the conversation about the importance of mindful attention to the cultures we create in start up.   However, on the front lines of the organizations teaching and mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs – incubators, accelerators, entrepreneurship programs at universities and the like – practices like Emotional Intelligence are rarely mentioned. How many programs do you know where start up leaders are taught that Emotional Intelligence and similar practices are among the single biggest factors about whether a start up fails or thrives?

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said:

Daily mindfulness and compassion will make you a healthier, more productive person. Additionally, the people you work with are going to respond better and do better work. The outcome is going to be a superior product or service, a happier user or client, and in the best case—a positive global impact.

A positive global impact. That’s the vision of the startup community that I serve. And in order to take the next step towards that, I believe it’s essential for the start world to make it a priority to deepen our commitment to and awareness of creating more mindful culture in start ups. It’s something I’m saying yes to with every cell in my body.

Bio: Paul Zelizer runs a global business as a business and marketing coach for wisdom/awareness based entrepreneurs.   He is also the co-founder and CEO of Wisdompreneurs, a start up that brings easy to implement mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence practices to the entrepreneurial world as well as more entrepreneurial skills to transformational leaders.   Paul’s website is www.paulzelizer.com and Wisdompreneurs is at www.wisdompreneurs.com

What’s Missing in Today’s Business World

What’s Missing in Today’s Business World 450 300 Catherine Bell

What’s Missing in Today’s Business World

The modern workplace lacks humanity, hurting performance and sustainability. How to bring it back to your company.

Most new companies perish within nine years of their founding. There are also countless examples of failed major organizations, like Arthur Anderson, Lehman Brothers, and Enron. The individual, social, environmental, technological, and political costs of all of this failure are astronomical.

The prevalence of failure in business tells us something about the way we do business. While there are many causes for business failings and economic downturns, they tend to include a mercurial concoction of factors such as lack of foresight, poor strategic planning, lack of capital, lack of adequate and properly trained personnel, technological advances, geopolitical forces, increased competition, and often just plain greed.

In addition to the ups and downs of the market—with its extremes of increasing wealth for the few and the loss of even hard-earner pension funds for others—a particularly tragic aspect of the modern economy is that the majority of the workforce is disengaged. It’s a factor that increases the likelihood that companies either don’t thrive as they could or survive over the long term.

Underpinning all of these reasons for our economic woes are humans who in some way fail to perform in an optimal manner, both in the head office and on the shop floor. The reason is that much of the business world tends to have a dehumanizing effect on people, which ultimately undercuts worker enthusiasm, creativity, commitment, and performance.

When we value people instead of devaluing them as if they were to be merchandized, we greatly benefit as organizations, as societies, and as a world. Our bipolar boom-bust economy is the result of a workplace that lacks humanity. “Profit above people” is a bad mantra with a poor prognosis for the wellbeing of individuals, families, society at large, and the world as a whole.

It’s clearly time to change our metrics of success. We need to bring humanity back into organizations by establishing strong one-on-one relationships in our workplaces, defining a clear reason for our companies’ existence that our people at every level can believe in, and ensuring that everything we do as an organization is responding to the deeper needs of society.

How do you put these principles into effect in your business? Drawing on my own experiences and conversations with inspiring entrepreneurs, leaders and thinkers, here are three types of practices you can implement to bring humanity back to your business.

RE-ENERGIZE

Have your team recreate your vision, if the timing is right.  People support what they create. This doesn’t mean the executive locking themselves up in a room to write a new business plan. It means getting feedback from everyone in your organization about why you exist. Making gobs of money doesn’t capture most people’s true hearts, so you need to find out what does.

SUSTAIN

I made huge mistakes about BluEra’s vision, as I learned the hard way. In one instance, we had scheduled a planning session with a consultant from Denmark. When the consultant asked what the team vision was, no one remembered. Imagine my embarrassment.

I had done a very poor job of reiterating and sustaining the vision of the organization. Now, we have our vision on our website, our blogs, on cakes—I’m constantly reminding our team of it. If your vision is in good shape, do something today that reiterates it to the team in a way that they will remember. Booking one-on-one meetings with members of your team to discuss the vision can also prove valuable.

REGENERATE

From answering emails from bed to checking messages in meeting, we are burning ourselves out with constant work. To implement alternate metrics of success leaders are increasingly utilizing practices such as meditation, and yoga, stillness breaks for staff, and mindfulness training. These practices allow us to be more thoughtful and inquiring.

• • • • •

The results of these changes will be less failures, more engagement on the part of personnel, and a deeper sense of meaning for everyone involved in and connected to our organizations. Let’s start considering the quality of our experiences in the workplace.

Catherine Bell is the founder of BluEra and author of the upcoming book The Awakened Company. BluEra was ranked #123 on the 2015 PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.

• • • • •

Article originally appeared in Profit Guide by Catherine Bell.

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We want this to be all about you!!! 2000 1000 Catherine Bell

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