We have a “crisis of consciousness”

By Maretha Prinsloo on July 18, 2017

Crisis of consciousness


“We are facing a tremendous crisis, a crisis of consciousness.  The turning point, the perceptive decision, the challenge, is not in politics, in religion, in the scientific world; it is in our consciousness. One has to understand the consciousness of mankind, which has brought us to this point.”

– J Krishnamurti

Here the focus is on concerns about the social and environmental impact of business and its undeniable ramifications for human dignity and quality of life on this planet, as well as how these challenges can be addressed.

Krishnamurti’s statement, “we have a crisis of consciousness”, refers to the lack of human awareness which lies at the root of many increasing societal challenges including the corrosive power of the current monetary system; the widely criticised greed and short-term vision of business leaders and shareholders; climate change; the impacts of the industrial complex; increasing political antagonism and military activity globally; the devastating effects of global income disparity and growing environmental destruction.

While science and technology can well relieve the symptoms of this crisis, a more fundamental solution is required to address the evolving interconnectedness between human consciousness and global organisational management and leadership. From a psychological and business perspective this will involve a transformation of the culture and values of organisations and societies as a whole.

Practically, the drive toward this blended perspective can best be leveraged through the identification and positioning of more responsive/aware leadership in all spheres and at all levels of society and business. Over time, the worldviews of leaders are likely to permeate all aspects of social life.

Intellectually capable, strategic, mindful, and compassionate leadership is required. There are tremendous potential benefits to business and society when leaders, who have the appropriate world views, values, and cognitive capacity, are appropriately positioned throughout corporate systems. Leadership identification, placement and development that is based on sound assessment and selection practices can significantly improve individual and collective wellness. Such an approach may, however, require a shift away from current people management practices which are often rather superficial and reactive rather than designed to support a long-term vision of an evolving organization.

A more systematic and in-depth approach to talent management is going to be required.

Not only the issue of leadership, but also that of organisational structuring needs to be reconsidered. The traditional, hierarchically designed corporate often seems bureaucratic, fragmented, politically driven, competitive, traditional and may lack the sharing of ideas and responsibilities necessary to adapt to fast changing environments.

More decentralised, holacratic, circular and matrix structures on the other hand, contribute to a culture of innovation, collaboration, involved leadership practices, constructive engagement and organisational adaptability. By dispersing rigid positional power structures and creating more distributed leadership throughout an organisation, a new mindset characterised by awareness, responsiveness, participation and an appreciation of whole-system functioning, is created.

It is exactly here that we can help, given our research on and experience with how leadership can transform business and society. Cognadev is in the business of people assessment, development, and talent pipeline design. We specialise in understanding and measuring the values, culture and cognitive potential of people. In addition, we work with organisational HR in clarifying and structuring the competency requirements of roles, and measuring work-related complexity which is constituent of each role. With this information, the most suitable potential candidates can be matched to the most suitable roles.

It is this unique process coupled with the deployment of our unique tools which enables the kind of organisational restructuring which can accommodate leadership aimed at agility and appropriate levels of consciousness and awareness. All of which are the necessary constituents which will contribute to organisational as well as social and environmental sustainability.


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