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Last Updated: 09/01/2009
ADEPT prosperity: More than bread alone
Hal Bolton

Hal Bolton introduces his ADEPT system for transforming conflict in the workplace and shifting the neo-liberal model of "business as usual" towards a broader concept of prosperity, integrating democratic and humanitarian values.

Transforming the workplace may not seem like a solution to the current global economic imbalance, but practicing prosperity consciousness at every level every workday according to what I call the ADEPT System can take the adventure of making money in a new, more democratic and humanitarian direction. The old war myth of corporate dragons operating on childlike or adolescent awareness becomes obsolete when we engage this more progressive model.

Although these times look bleak in regard to material prosperity, it may be the perfect moment for a long overdue new prosperity consciousness that encompasses not only money making but the potential for increased equality and fairness, as well as human growth, in the workplace. In the current economic downturn, false inflated material prosperity is diminishing, offering a golden opportunity to embrace a prosperity consciousness that benefits all instead of only a few.

For decades, people with childlike awareness have been expecting money and goods to flow forever, while those with adolescent awareness—characterized by unfairness, refusal to take responsibility, and tendency to respond to conflict with domination and trickery rather than mediation—have been governing Wall Street. Neither level of awareness reflects a prosperity consciousness that considers benefits to society as a whole. In fact, the lesson that the great dragon mega-corporations, thrashing their way around the world, can teach us is:

If exclusive prosperity leads to social devastation, then inclusive prosperity can lead to social growth. And in casting off our childlike or adolescent awareness, rooted in narrow narcissism and focusing on the few, we can move to a post-recession adult awareness engendering a prosperity consciousness that nourishes everyone, all-upmanship rather than one-upmanship.

The concept of prosperity consciousness has been circulating in New Age circles since the 1980s. It has been widely held that Prosperity is a state of mind that creates abundance and Prosperity can be manifested by thoughts, affirmations, and creative visualizations focused on abundance. But in fact it is possible and even necessary to go beyond affirmations and visualizations to build a new, more democratic prosperity consciousness that leads to abundance for the many.

As a longtime CEO and business consultant, I often thought about what it means to really prosper and be successful, not just as an employee or employer but as a human being. I observed that people, who typically spend one-third of their lives in the workplace want to grow professionally and personally as well as make a good living. Contemplating the workplace with its carefully segregated CEOs, management personnel, and workers, I pondered how I could create an environment in which people of all three echelons felt they were prospering not just materially but in the broader sense of their human potential. Ultimately I concluded that to change the workplace in these ways would involve altering business structures and processes, a mission I proceeded to undertake.

First, I tracked adolescent awareness and found it rooted in old workplace dominance myths—business as war games myths, corporate welfare myths, entitlement myths, captains of industry myths, corporate ladder myths, management myths, and above-the-law myths. In one place of business after another, I watched as workers were treated like children and management and CEOs behaved like rivaling adolescents. It became clear to me that such pre-recession myths and the awareness sustaining them precluded any possibility of turning the workplace into an environment where adults might not just survive but thrive.

Second, to change old habits in the workplace, I introduced adult awareness into meetings at all three levels by encouraging people to listen to all sides of an issue, to make more objective judgments by valuing analytical thinking, and to take responsibility for their propositions.

Finally, I presented a more advanced level of awareness—life mastery awareness—based on the desirability of working not only for profit but also for growth, a consciousness requiring unconditional love, fairness, wisdom, and resolutions that respect everyone involved. I envisioned people employing life mastery awareness for the purpose of expanding the goals of prosperity beyond our usual expectations for the workplace. Whereas individuals who use adult awareness identify with concerns close at hand, those who exercise life mastery awareness for the sake of prosperity consciousness are motivated by a vision that encompasses the global community, with the workplace as an economically and spiritually powerful jumping-off point.

Pre-recession institutions dominated by war myths may be tempted to scorn such post-recession visions as too soft for a business context. But the political and economic mountains moved by those whose life mastery awareness serves a prosperity consciousness indicate otherwise.

To generate a prosperity consciousness in the workplace using life mastery awareness, I recommend testing, and adapting as necessary, the ADEPT method, which stands for: Attention, Dialogue, Engagement, Practice, Transformation. Attention is the gateway to adult awareness beyond procedural machinations born of war myths that have sucked the vitality from many workplaces. Dialogue exposes questionable myths and procedures and gets productive energy flowing again. Whereas Attention and Dialogue assist in seeing problems, Engagement allows alteration of everyday procedures, such as the way meetings are run, decisions are made concerning acquisitions, or how hiring and firing are implemented. Practice then provides essential feedback that solidifies the changes or clarifies the need for additional alteration. Transformation is the end result, reflected in enhanced interconnections on all levels, such as employees treating one another with greater respect and understanding, as well as policy and procedures that truly support growth.

Consciously using this method in the workplace can result in greater personal prosperity for all, beyond any materialistic gains.

Hal Bolton is a retired CEO and business consultant and author of the forthcoming book The Dragon’s Teeth: Transforming War Myths in the Workplace. He resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.