This organisation was a large philanthropic company operating in the area of education, training and change management. The key personnel were highly motivated by integrity and spiritual values. They were focused on aligning the business in all the right ways. However, the business had been stuck for several years, unable to grow and develop. The business was not expanding and new clients were hard to come by. It took several meetings before the core of the problem emerged. Within the individuals and the organisation was an unconscious distrust and contempt for money, particularly what they deemed to be excessive wealth. This was the shadow of their philanthropic endeavours.
The more this was explored, the clearer it became that money and profit were seen as “dirty” and undesirable. Following their initial business success, it was easy to see how the brakes on the business had been applied, based upon these unconscious judgements. We worked on re-positioning the value of money, wealth and profit, and the possibilities of expansion for the organisation based upon these values. The executive team could readily grasp that the greater the success and profitability, the larger the outreach of their philanthropy. Although the uplift was slow, due to residual resistance, the organisation began to expand and grow. Twelve months later, it was performing with substantial increased revenue and profitability.
The same simple principle can be seen to be operating here: i.e., what is outside of awareness and is unconscious is powerful and drives the behaviour – whether of the individual or the group. Once this has been made conscious, there is a process during which old beliefs and judgements are transformed to create a new constellation of values aligned to the new vision. Individuals and groups carry systems of old beliefs that are buried and yet create a significant effect on the business. In large businesses, it becomes essential to look at the explicit and implicit core values of the organisation.