Dear Reader,

When you buy the book, you will be holding in your hands the result of a collaboration between three individuals who are well versed in and deeply concerned about the present state and future direction of organizations.

From one-person enterprises to multinational corporations, for profit businesses are the principal vehicle for supplying the world’s needs and have the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. 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 very good at surviving as businesses. 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. How can such instability, with all the ups and downs it causes in the economy, 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?

The overwhelming data on worldwide employee disengagement is staggeringly sad, with the vast majority disengaged and demoralized at work. So many companies are staffed by uninspired, checked-out employees who have no way to express their creativity. So much human potential is sacrificed when companies don’t recognize the value of their people and engage their hearts and minds.

Having said this, 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.

In writing The Awakened Company, we wanted to really talk with business leaders about what actually works and what doesn’t. We chose to interview people who are breaking new ground within organizations—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.

In the process of conducting these interviews, we gathered priceless wisdom. This insight, which is at the heart of The Awakened Company, is why the book merges empirical business evidence, qualitative research, a wealth of corporate experience on the part of many business leaders in addition to those we interviewed, my own extensive corporate experience along with that of my supporting authors, and insight from the world’s wisdom traditions.

In this book, we put forward a way for organizations to reinvent themselves as what we are calling “awakened companies.” Over the years, experience has taught me to see nothing as separate. Business can never be “just business,” but impacts every aspect of our lives. 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.

An awakened company consists of individuals who are aware. People who are aware are what’s going to transform the very nature of what we consider “work.” To awaken is to invite something more true and real in all of us to emerge. It’s to become authentic in our work life, which automatically elevates our engagement, energy, team spirit, vision, creativity, and commitment to renewal.

As someone who has worked in an array of work settings, I have experienced anger, rage, fear, disengagement, boredom, and deep sadness over the status quo behavior of many organizations. I have seen people suffer at work. I suspect you have noticed this too. The saddest aspect of many a corporate experience is that such distress is entirely unnecessary.

People are my business. As the founder of a globally-focused, multi-million dollar consulting firm specializing in executive search, team transformation, and coaching, we’ve built dynamic teams in a variety of organizational settings from small start-up companies to Fortune 500 firms. I’ve interviewed thousands of senior executives on the hunt for talented leadership. In that process, I’ve uncovered the common characteristics of what I call “awakened” leaders. These leaders are:

  • 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 that incorporates different possibilities;
  • Not satisfied with the status quo—are always exploring new possibilities; and
  • Deeply aware of the interdependence and interconnection of all things.

I have a BA in Sociology (with a special interest in group behavior) from Western University, an MBA from Queen’s University, certification in the Enneagram (a personality profiling system), 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 instructor. I’m currently conducting research in mindfulness with a leading university.

In writing The Awakened Company, I chose to work with Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos. Russ and I have known each other nine years. A well-established author and lecturer, he has a brilliant mind and a tender heart, which allows him to read through people and systems at a very deep level. Chris, also an author and teacher, provides a soft landing and has been a detail-oriented collaborator.

I’ll never forget how, in New York, when Russ realized we needed a break, we spent three hours in the Museum of Natural History. A basic understanding of natural history has tremendous relevance for today, because you see how an entity can rise to dominance, then very quickly go extinct—a phenomenon we are seeing so frequently in the corporate world these days.

This is a book that will help you energize, sustain, and regenerate your company. When the principles we put forward are applied, you can expect the following kinds of results:

  • An increase of joy in your organization;
  • Engagement will increase;
  • Realness will increase;
  • Your bottom line will benefit;
  • You will improve your people’s lives;
  • All of the communities you touch will benefit;
  • The environment will be more supported;
  • Your company will become sustainable; and
  • You will be laying the groundwork for the wellbeing of future generations.

We hope you’ll share your own corporate experiences with us along the way, as well as letting us know how we can serve you further. May this book inspire you to start taking the kind of action that has evolutionary and revolutionary consequences.

Wishing you a fulfilling present and a bright future,