Blog : Business Transformation

8 Signs of a Conscious Culture

Companies with a conscious culture are often recognized as a Best Employer, have high levels of innovation and are outperforming the market. Conscious Capitalism describes a Conscious Culture as a culture that “fosters love and care and builds trust between a company’s team members and its other stakeholders. Conscious Culture is an energizing and unifying force, that truly brings a Conscious Business to life.”

Based on our decades of experience and research with highly engaged companies we have highlighted 8 Success Factors that distinguish a conscious culture.


1. Strong Alignment

Everyone sings from the same songs sheet. It doesn’t mean that people agree all the time and don’t engage in robust discussion. When it comes to the big questions, the strategic context there is a high level of alignment in the organisation. A conscious culture is defined by a clear set of values and behaviours, a common language and a set of shared expectations that is not just expressed but also lived and demonstrated through actions and decisions. Rhythms, rituals and stories bring those values alive and reinforce the conscious culture. People feel at home and have friends at work.

2. Inspired by Purpose

Leaders engage rather than control, they lead and inspire with a clear sense of purpose. They walk their talk authentically and are role models to look up to. People love to be part of the business and feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves.

3. Culture of trust

A conscious culture is a fearless culture where relationships are built on trust. People feel safe to own and share their emotions, are happy to speak up and make courageous decisions. People trust, empower and encourage each other and give unconditional support.

4. Transparent and respectful

People are respectful, open and transparent in their communication. Leaders use coaching to develop people, set clear expectations when discussing goals and give radically candid feedback when required. People talk directly to people rather than talking about them behind their backs.

5. Acknowledgment and Recognition

Leaders are humble and demonstrate gratitude. For them it is not about how good the leader is, it is how good the people in his team are. People can bring all of who they are to work and leaders acknowledge and recognise contributions to the team and give credit for standout performances. They focus on what is going right.

6. Sense of One Team

People put the team first and have a high desire for mutual success. They try to create win win wins and encourage high levels of collaboration.

7. Energy and Flow

People are energised working in the business. It is fun and there is laughter. There is a sense of flow in the organisation, no bureaucracy to slow things down but a high level of ownership, self-responsibility and personal accountability. The structure is flat; decisions are taken quickly.

8. Approach to Challenges and Failure

When it comes to problems/challenges people spend time finding a solution rather than describing the problem in detail.  Issued get solved in an agile way. You feel high levels of curiosity and experimentation is key to success. People are encouraged to fail often, to fail early but to make new mistakes. Failure is an opportunity to continuously learn, to create innovation and to constantly improve.

Do you want to transform your culture to this? Read more about creating a conscious culture at your organization.

10 Keys to a Successful Cultural Transformation

1. Top-Down

Must be initiated, sponsored and lead by the CEO and carried by the leadership team.

2. Measurement

What you don’t measure you can’t manage, measure and track regularly.

3. Alignment

Ensure strategic, cultural and structural alignment.

4. Addressed concerns

Understand the fears and concerns that will cause resistance in order to find ways to overcome them.

5. Committed Leaders

Leaders must be committed to transform themselves as well as their teams, which includes setting clear expectations, giving regular candid feedback and having crucial conversations when people don’t contribute.

6. Developing Leaders

Support leaders by developing their capability to execute the plan.

7. Engagement

Create high engagement, involvement and identification with the transformation to reach the tipping point.

8. Supportive system

Install rhythms, rituals and high levels of communication to bring the new culture alive

9. Accountability

Create a culture of personal accountability to ensure fast implementation.

10. Celebrate success

Celebrate successes and reward and recognise stewards of the desired culture


Business Transformation Success

Business transformation means a constant adaption of business models and identification of growth engines within a company. Underpinned by a transformation of the corporate culture, mindsets and behaviours.

Business Model disruption creates need for Business Transformation

The pace of Silicon Valley based companies has challenged the old traditional business models of most industries, using the access to superior technologies and excellent human talent of the best universities of the world. Their clear focus on growth, high capital returns and enormous flexibility has defined new rules how to play the business game in an accelerated way. The set of their cards seems to hold all the aces: capital access, human capital and a network of accelerators who have clear strategies how to serve the goal. The famous ones, like AirBnB or Uber, have created new ways to share assets and to create more consumption in a world where customers already have it all. In the next stage of the race, those companies will play an additional ace: the access and analysis of the consumer data they have collected over the years.

All other industries, e.g. car manufacturers, insurances will be affected and have to react on the next wave of business models which will threaten their normal business. Will banks exist any longer if you could do all your financial services with a cool Fintech-App? Are medical doctors still needed or is artificial intelligence superior in their ways of treatment using the latest therapeutic knowledge? And what is the business transformation needed to adapt quickly to a fast changing environment?

Defining a clear Business Transformation Process

The race is on but it is difficult to judge how the business transformation process should be designed. Talking about acceleration, company leaders know that they can’t stress the organization for years. So one of the key question you need to answer is: « In which strategic context are we doing this?» And to decide whether we talk constant development or whether we are in a very specific situation where we have to act fast and accelerate the business. Otherwise, we risk the core and the stability of the business.

To make a business transformation happen, you must define a structured process.

1. The first step is the vision and answering the question “where do you want to go?”.

2. Next is the evaluation of your business transformation capabilities: “do we have the skills/ capabilities to do this?”. PEAQ uses clearly defined assessment tools like the Barrett’s Cultural Values Assessment Tool to identify potential blockages and the level of fear within an organization.

3. Third you need to answer  “what specifically needs to be done?” What practically are the drivers of top/bottom line performance?”

4. In our Team Development Workshops we work hard on mindset shifts, creating choices and commitments to build the capabilities for the next level of growth.

5. Only then starts the execution, normally it takes a 3-5 year journey to act on a large scale transformation. It is structured by different work-streams, normally working on Products/ Services, KPIs, Roles & Communication.


Continuous adaption after a business transformation process

First a business transformation process has to be clearly announced and well-communicated. Subsequently the leaders have to deliver in a credible and consistent way and create quick wins. In our role as trusted strategic advisors we often observe that the energy of all people involved is extremely high at the beginning but will be diluted over the months by daily business. To keep the whole team going, it requires a consistent effort, a structured process with precisely defined milestones and the future leadership behaviours articulated.

As a core leadership team, it is essential to keep the energy level up. Most companies are used to permanent change and have the appropriate tools and processes in place. Nevertheless, 70% of all change management initiatives fail in the long-term. It is much easier to build a new culture within a Start-Up-Company with a highly committed team of founders. Instead of changing the old habits and behaviours of a Fortune500-company. Why? The energy is new, fresh and clean. The culture is not influenced by old blockages and set-backs.  On the contrary the energy of co-creation and collaboration is powerful and creates fast growth.

However, if you align your core leadership team on the strategic context and get their commitment to the business transformation they will inspire the rest of the business to come along on the journey.

Integration of IQ-EQ-SQ

The leadership team has to be willing to create this energy during the business transformation process. It needs an openness which is radical and self-reflective.  And a learning journey in leading themselves confronted with their biases and blind spots. This takes enormous commitment and effort. PEAQ uses the Theory U process describing three key openings:

  1. the mind to challenge the assumptions (IQ),
  2. the heart, showing yourself as being vulnerable and listen to each other with empathy (EQ) and
  3. the will to let go pre-set plans and objectives (SQ).

We are used to work on the IQ level but to work on the EQ and SQ level as well is highly innovative. Feeling uncomfortable despite all tools in place and the connection to the business modelling is demanding as you play on a different level. But right here is where you create the concrete breakthroughs, where real transformation starts. Working with PEAQ means having real, open and honest conversation and having effective relationships among people who shape companies.

To engage in a conversation about how we could assist your business transformation write to