Business. The word business comes from the old English word ‘bisig’, meaning careful, anxious, busy, occupied, diligent. 

    Yes, I’ve just done a Google search in an attempt to add a bit more clout to my own amateurish break-down of business to busy-ness. But the conclusions are similar. 

    Right from its very origins, business has been about getting stuff done - doing - being busy. 

    But we’re “human beings not human doings” (Dalai Lama). As businesses grow, it’s easy for them to move further and further away from why they were set up in the first place. The human doing was always originally intended to serve human beings. 

    Now more than ever, it’s so important to check back in with a business’s being. It’s core. It’s essence. 

    And it starts with great communication by highly conscious, awake individuals throughout. 

    Let me start with our philosophy and build out from there. 

    Our Philosophy - Speak, Listen: Act 

    Our philosophy is built on this principal: Speak, Listen: Act and it infuses all of our work. 

    Speak: Be confident, be heard, it’s your right. 

    Listen: Be humble, be generous, you don’t know everything. 

    Act: Be collaborative, take action and make things happen. 

    The vertical axis represents the quality of speaking within a business - how much people use their voices to get their points across / share ideas etc. 

    The horizontal axis represents the quality of listening within a business. By listening, we mean, high quality listening - free from ego, present and with a genuine desire to understand. 

    The trajectory represents healthy action - where there is equal weight given to speaking and listening. It’s the healthiest culture for exceptional collaboration - where people are both assertive and co-operative. It’s not about competing egos and agendas which are self-serving, nor is it about evasive, siloed behaviour. Pretty simple, but so true. 

    Time for a rethink 

    I’m always up for a re-think of all our work, embracing Adam Grant’s philosophy to “think more like a scientist” rather than resting on the confidence of conviction. (BTW, I highly recommend his book ‘Think again’.) 

    In that spirit, and re-visiting our own philosophy, I was driven to write this piece to outline an important precondition to Speak, Listen: Act to ensure its successful implementation. For a more in depth explanation of each of the quadrants, do take a look at the following link

    The precondition of quality being 

    This is my re-think. 

    A crucial precondition for any healthy, worthwhile communication and action in business has to be an awakening of sorts. By that, I mean much greater self and collective awareness. 

    Otherwise, any speaking, listening and action is unconscious, and likely driven by ego. A group of individuals that are ultimately disconnected and speaking and listening to serve themselves. 

    The only way to truly connect the people within a business and stimulate deeper, more meaningful communication, action and growth, is through deeper work, encouraging everyone to become more aware, more present and less ego driven. 

    Encouraging everyone to improve their sense of being. Every day. 

    Again, as the Dalai Lama says, we are “human beings, not human doings” 

    There needs to be a whole lot less unconscious role-playing, playing out the “drama of business” - the “drama of ego”  that doesn’t serve anyone. 

    Strict dress codes; posturing; meetings that are more about politics than serving the shared goal; looking busy; looking professional; being serious; speaking corporate; “circle back - take this offline - BAU” rubbish. 

    At The Speakers’ Gym, our work on a business’s ‘being’ and getting everyone ‘in flow’ helps cut through this noise that doesn’t make anyone happy or serve anyone well. 

    Poor quality human beings will inevitably lead to poor quality humans doing. 

    And it has to start with the individual 

    There are many paths to provoke this awakening - social science; mindfulness and breathing techniques; work to discover authentic purpose and values; deep self reflection and commitment to behavioural change. It’s impossible to cover everything in the narrow confines of this article. And of course, every business’s needs, and every individual within that business’s needs are unique. No path is the same. 

    But it’s so, so important that this deep, longer-term reflective work is no longer seen as a side-dish but at the very essence of any business that wants healthy, long term growth - in every aspect. 

    In a sense, you could articulate this succinctly with the following pre-condition to our philosophy: 


    Speak, Listen: Act. 

    Without the BE, none of the rest works. None of the rest flows. 

    Without the BE, there’s a whole lot of doing without people truly understanding why or truly connecting to any sort of authentic purpose. 

    When a business re-connects with the essence of its being, it unlocks its full potential, empowering  its people to take control of their future - happier, with purpose and in service. 

    So surely that’s a pretty strong case for carving out a little time for better quality being? The doing suffers too much not to. 

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