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If it’s broken, fix it: why we need a new model for doing business

By Catherine Bell

Catherine Bell is the founder of BluEra, an executive search and team transformation company. She’s also the best-selling author of The Awakened Company, a thought-provoking read that explores how treating businesses as communities can transform them for the better. She shares how the idea was born, and the impact it’s capable of having.

I co-founded my boutique consulting business on a credit card, during the global economic crash of 2008. Needless to say, it was a challenging time. Eight years later, BluEra has a small but mighty team of dedicated employees. We’ve worked with Fortune 500 Companies and clients across multiple industries. In 2015 we made it to #123 on the PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies, and we’re in the top 10 for Calgary as well as HR companies Canada-wide. By all measures, we are successful—but it’s not the financial success that I’m most proud of. It’s the kind of company that we run.

We are, as I like to put it, an “awakening company”—an organization that has moved from “me” to “we” in our thinking and practices, and that sees our employees, the communities we serve, and the planet itself as more than mere resources. We use mindfulness as a tool. You’ve probably heard of the term, but might not be sure of the meaning; simply put, it is being very present to where we are now, in our heart, head, and hands. We use other wisdom traditions as well.

Why do I believe in the awakened company model? And why should other businesses, including yours, be interested?

Quite simply, the old model of doing business doesn’t work very well. Most companies fail before their tenth anniversary. The overwhelming data on worldwide employee disengagement is staggeringly sad, with the vast majority disengaged and demoralized at work. Instability is the norm, with all its accompanying ups and downs in the economy. I believe we can do better. In fact, we must do better, for ourselves and for future generations.

The solution I put forward in The Awakened Company has been in development for about seven years, and it really grew concurrently with BluEra. As a new company we made a lot of mistakes, but each one was a learning opportunity (and I believe contributed to our future success). We were gathering invaluable research about teams, team dynamics, innovation, and engagement. I was also witnessing a world where disconnection, apathy, and failure are the norm. I began to understand that business can never be “just business,” but impacts every aspect of our lives. There was a deeper problem this book needed to solve.

Along with my two brilliant collaborators, I interviewed over twenty world-renowned business leaders, including the CEO of Patagonia, Rose Marcario, Otto Scharmer from MIT, and Tony Hsieh from Zappos. We were excited to discover just how many were 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 Awakened Company is more than just a business book, it’s an urgent call to action. It is my hope this book brings humanity back into organizations and that the data on business success and engagement awakens amazing and revolutionary results.

Ready to awaken your own business? Get your copy of The Awakened Company, and learn how companies are achieving a new standard of success. A best-seller within a week, and one of Eight of the Best Business Books of 2015, it explores a new way of doing business: incorporating mindfulness and wisdom traditions to ultimately benefit companies, those involved in them, and the planet itself. It has earned praise from business leaders and industry experts, and is the blueprint for the successful executive search and team transformation company, BluEra.