In the article What is the Conscious Business Model I explained how there are 4 different levels on which the Conscious Business Model is built. These 4 principles are:
  • Structure (physical level): how you perceive
  • Strategy (mental level): how you think
  • Network (emotional level): how you inter-act
  • Heart (spiritual level): how you are
I explained these 4 principles as layers that are built on op top of each other: This article will go a level deeper and give you an understanding of how these components actually interact with each other, which is not as straightforward as the picture above shows. I would like to warn on forehand that this article is somewhat technical and might be difficult to understand in one reading. Do not hesitate to contact me in case something is not clear and needs more clarifying.

What’s the outcome?

In this world there’s one thing that is constant. There is a constant change happening around us. Sometimes you see it, but most changes happen so slowly that you can barely perceive it until it is big enough to catch your attention. This conscious model is a way of learning how to deal with change and actually use change in order to learn more about ourselves, the business world and life all together. Change is something that comes as a consequence of a process and is also the starting point of a (new) process. The chain of evolution is a never ending story of change. Change doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical one: a change in perspective is perfectly possible without any real change in the situation. Likewise, a change in a physical situation doesn’t necessarily come from an action of yourself, but might start a process of learning.

What is the driving force of the CBM?

Change is the start of a learning process. But what exactly triggers you to take the next step? Think about how you decide to do something. You need some kind of motivation to take action. Let’s imagine that your spouse mentions that someone needs to fix the broken step of the staircase. Are those words enough to get you out of your couch and go do it? It might not be enough. Before you decide to really do something, you first need to experience certain emotions. Emotions that are powerful enough to get you out of the chair and fix that step. Your spouse might have more luck in getting you to fix that step if she evokes some emotions within you by changing her sentence: ‘Someone needs to fix that step before someone falls and breaks his legs, if not worse’. The same counts for the CBM, the driving force behind it are the emotions that each level holds. Emotions are felt throughout your whole body, but are mostly connected with your heart. This is the centre of feelings and gives you the power necessary to take action. Emotions do not only control our actions. They also influence our perception. Somebody who has been bitten by a dog in an early age, might still carry those emotions throughout a lifetime. When that person sees a dog, it will be perceived as a potential threat no matter how friendly that dog really is. Not only do emotions influence our actions and our perceptions, they also influence our thinking. When you are scared to deal with a certain situation, such as going alone to a network event, you might think of strategies to avoid ending up standing alone at a table waiting for someone to talk to you. You picture different scenarios all based upon avoiding being alone, instead of thinking about interesting questions or getting to know more about the topic of the event. The above two questions lead us to a more circular event of which the level ‘heart’ forms the centre of the model and where change becomes part of the process.

Connecting the layers

In above picture, change is the outcome or the trigger of the process and heart forms the centre. The layers are still in a consequent order. Network is a consequence of strategy and strategy is a layer that builds on top of structure.  But is this really the case or are there any other ways these levels communicate with each other? This leads to thinking about the possible ways of communication between the different layers of the model.

Structure & Strategy

You already know that strategy, the thinking part of you, is influenced by your perception. When you see an object, you will have some thoughts about it. Those thoughts will probably be different than mine when I see that same object. A tennis ball is for one person a reason to think of tennis and for another person it might lead to thoughts of protecting clothes from a greasy coupling hook on the back of a car. But does it work the other way around as well? Can strategic thinking lead to a different perception of that object? Can you change your thoughts so that you will see a situation in a different way? The answer is straightforward: yes, you can. Think about NLP (neuro linguistic programming) which focuses on changing (habitual) thinking patterns so that old situations in which you might be stuck are transformed into positive ones that help you grow. Just by thinking differently, you might discover a whole new world of things which you have never been aware of before, but which have always been there right next to you.

Strategy & Network

‘Think before you act’ is an advice you surely have been told many times when you grew up. Maybe you still hear that advice on a regular basis at work or at home. It is clear that strategic thinking leads to a change in action. Imagine you are new to the job, and you are instructed to send an email to a client. As you are new, you will probably deal with this in a very thoughtful way. Does acting also lead to different thinking? This might not always be a straightforward, but yes it does. To be clear on the matter, I am not talking about acting so that the result is already visible. Imagine you have to do a monotonous, dreadful work. While doing this, you might become aware of how insane this way of acting really is. Something doesn’t feel right about a certain approach. While acting, you decide to try something new: You leave out one or more steps in the process, or you put one step before another in stead of the other way around. While achieving the same result, you suddenly noticed that you saved a lot of time (and energy), which leads you to further optimizing the process. Acting can lead to a change in thinking.

Network & structure

The level network has a clear impact on perception. When you perform an action, you expect a result. If that result is not as expected, it will change your perception of the beginning situation. Does a change in perception also have a direct impact on acting? Let’s think about the following: when you see a situation as life threatening, you will act accordingly like running away as fast as you can. When it becomes clear that the situation was harmless, you might laugh about it afterwards. Next time you are in the same situation, your perception will be adapted and you won’t run away as you did before. This too, is a two way street of communication. One layer is influencing the other and vice versa.

True purpose of the heart

In  the article ‘the conscious business model‘, you’ve learned that the heart level is the layer that knows why something happens. It is the level where true learning is happening. When emotions come at you, the heart level will show you the answer why you feel the way you do. Once you know the cause of something, you can start to adjust whatever level is needed in order to get you to the point where you want or need to be. In real life, you don’t necessarily need this heart level. In fact, most business count on it, that you do not ask yourself the question why you feel a strong emotion for doing this or buying that. They count on your emotions to get your behaviour in line with their wants. These are the options that you have when feeling an emotion:
  • Ignore the emotion, continue the behaviour as you were doing
  • Act upon the emotion, adapt your behaviour according to it
  • Ask yourself why the emotion is there, adapt your behaviour if necessary
It’s not my intention to talk about the consequences of these options. I guess with some imagination, you can predict what the possible outcomes are. The point that I want to make here, is that a conscious business model is aware of the emotions, which are used as guidance for every step along the way. Asking ‘why’ something catches your attention, asking ‘why’ you have a certain feeling or asking ‘why’ you think this is the best way to go further will make you aware of yourself and of your environment. This will lead to finding a solution in case of a challenge, or will teach you something new about yourself or the other, making the path free for growth. The ultimate conscious model looks like this:

The reason why this is a ‘conscious’ model is because it is asking for (self-)awareness.

“Follow your heart” is an often heard and given advice. I hope that with this article it becomes clear what is actually meant by this. Listen to your heart by becoming aware of your perception, your thinking, your inter-acting and your emotions. Ask yourself the question why you perceive something, how you look and think about it and what your actions can be related to this.

Now that you know what the CBM is and how it functions, it is time to learn how to use this model in real life, which you can read here.