What does it mean to be a Conscious CEO?

The last two years have been full of growth and efforts to pursue conscious change here at Vorto. However, what do we mean when we say we are being ‘conscious’ and how does this relate to the position of being a CEO. Bobby Ward, Founder at Vorto Trading seeks to answer this question and shares his understanding of the title ‘a Conscious CEO’.

In many cases, the term ‘conscious’ has become associated with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Yet if we take it back to basics and turn to a dictionary, a simple definition of being ‘conscious’ is to be ‘awake and aware of what is happening around you, and being able to think’.

In my opinion, this idea of being awake and fully present in the moment is a true reflection of what it means to be a Conscious CEO as it invites leaders to study what is in front of them and not succumb to distractions. Equally, the idea of understanding what is around you is important. This is particularly true of your team and market conditions.

The pandemic served as a profound moment defined by economic and societal shifts, acting as a platform whereby CEO’s could take a moment to reflect and decide which direction their business should go in. Businesses and their CEOs soon learned that the pandemic fundamentally changed how their employees viewed the world and work. Success no longer depended on how much money a business makes, but rather how it serves the people it interacts with.

Back in 2021, Raconteur shared a feature called the ‘Conscious CEO’ as part of their ‘Future CEO’ series. The article followed the turbulence of the outbreak of Covid19 which exacerbated the need for greater focus on consciousness when it comes to the pursuit of business goals, namely by prioritising mental wellbeing and environmental security alongside profits. In a nutshell, being a Conscious CEO is reflecting upon how you can best serve others. Others can be inclusive of people via partners, communities and customers or the environment. The notion of serving is important because it forces leaders to think beyond themselves and their needs, but instead consider how their behaviours and decisions can empower those around them to be and do better. The idea of serving others can be stemmed back to the ancient yogic tradition of selfless service, which is known as ‘Seva’ in sanskrit. Seva has long been considered as an important part of a spiritual practice and life.

Returning back to the Raconteur 2021 article, the notion of a ‘servant leadership’ style was deemed important for Conscious CEOs. By serving those around them, they are able to realise both the creative capacity of their team and their organisation. The idea of serving helps better relationships between teams and success for businesses.

Conscious CEOs are fundamentally driven by their sense of impact from a social and environmental sense. However they are much more than this. They are also the embodiment of this motivation. They live by their values and beliefs. In turn, this informs how they approach relationships from an internal and external perspective, as well as how they work towards goals for the short and long term. Yet, true conscious leadership starts with asking ‘how can I best serve those around me’.