Conscious Business Leadership: An Interview with Dr. Mandeep Rai

The world is dramatically different (thankfully) than it was even three months ago.

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Today we are speaking with Dr. Mandeep Rai, a global authority on values, who works with companies, institutions, and individuals around the world.

She has traveled to more than 150 countries and reported as a broadcast journalist for the BBC World Service and Reuters, among others. She began her career in private banking at JPMorgan, and later worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, and grassroots NGOs before setting up the UAE’s first media venture capital fund. She holds a PhD in global values.

Her debut book “The Values Compass” was endorsed by the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra and launched at Davos in January. The book became an international bestseller, appearing on both the London Sunday Times and WSJ bestseller lists.

Dr. Rai, what experience has inspired you the most in your journey of becoming a conscious business leader? 

 The experience of travel. The first time I stepped foot outside of my comfort zone to experience a different language, behaviors, manners, code of conduct, and values was the first time I felt as though time stood still and I just absorbed.  I absorbed all that was around me, and I still do that today.  This is when all of my receptors are open, most of all my consciousness, and when I learn, learn, learn. 

To listen, observe, be open and learn I feel are the paramount qualities of a conscious business leader. 

What 3 tips would you give any leader for making a meaningful difference in the lives of their direct reports?

  1. To be aware of the entire being of your direct report.  Take a whole 360 degree view, and to do this you need to have spoken to them, listened to them, and have taken a genuine interest in who they are. It simply doesn’t work otherwise.
  2. Remember or remind yourself of what you would have liked from a manager when you were at that stage of your career, and then aim to do above and beyond that – because you can, and therefore you should.
  3. Encourage and facilitate your direct report to have an industry mentor – and for this person to be someone other than yourself and preferably more senior. The more you empower your junior the better your team outcome all round, always. 

What are 1 to 3 mindset changes business leaders need to make in order to truly create a working environment that fosters inspiration, connectedness, and transformational personal growth?

 A growth mindset, growth mindset, growth mindset. 

How do you see the connection between business success and personal transformation for today’s leaders?

The connection is incredibly strong and has been proven time and time again. I know the model works, hence you do not need to convince me, nor other I do not think.  The world is dramatically different (thankfully) than it was even three months ago. 

Purpose and Community are more important to younger generations. How do you see those focus areas to improve business results, retention, and recruitment for your organization?

 When your purpose and therefore your values are clear, naturally your business results, retention and recruitment would improve, for we are always making our decisions according to our values, and when they know that these values are at the forefront, it simply gives everyone the confidence and permission to partner. 

Given your commitment as a conscious business leader, what’s your approach to developing leaders to encourage greater consciousness?

I am heavily involved in leadership development and training, and will continue to be. 

What do you see as the key qualities of a conscious business leader?

Patience, tolerance, love, compassion, awareness, great communication skills and understanding.  

What is the link between a conscious business and being environmentally sustainable?

 There is a very evident clear and direct link. You can best achieve environmental sustainability if you have conscious business leaders I believe. 

What is your biggest challenge as a conscious business leader?

Having to meet short term deadlines, when I know changing human behaviour can take a millenia. 

What do you think the biggest changes we will see in the workplace twenty years from now due to conscious business leadership’s growth?

 Equality – which we are still fighting for.

Opportunity and trust.

What is the link between being a conscious business and supporting Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter, and the dismantling of White Supremacy?

You are not conscious if you buy into difference and class.

How can conscious business leaders better support people of color to create fair opportunities for people who have historically been underrepresented, underprivileged, and unfairly discriminated against in the workplace?

Ensure equality and be observant when this is not being adhered to. 

What role do conscious businesses and conscious business leaders have in the dismantling of white supremacy and racist structures in America outside of the workplace?

Huge – we nor anyone else can afford to get into the weeds of it, because otherwise structures remaining.  It’s awful.  

How can conscious business leaders address racism in the workplace and take action to eliminate it?

Be aware of their biases when people come for an interview and be aware of others’ advice.  

How can viewers / readers follow you or your company on social media, and get a copy of your book?

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