Business Alchemy is a term Andrew Wallas uses for his work with corporates. It arises from the past three decades of managing successful entrepreneurial companies and working with individuals, groups and organisations. Business Alchemy is, he believes, a completely new approach to transforming a business. Its aim is twofold:
(a) to increase the revenue, profit & value of the business, &
(b) to allow the business to fulfil its potential. It relies upon science and spirituality in equal measure.
During this evolutionary process in this work, he has come to rely upon five basic assumptions and/or premises, which underpin all of his work.
He describes them as follows:Read More
1. All aspects of life are simple – the longer I do this work and the older I become, the more convinced I am that all aspects of life are incredibly simple. The way the universe works, the way human beings work and the way organisations operate are all essentially simple. Human beings complicate life immeasurably (much more than animals) and I can assure you that I complicate my life just as much as everyone else. However, when I am working, I keep returning to the simplicity of the situation in front of me because this is a place of great clarity and always provides the pathway through. Why do individuals and businesses complicate everything so much? We do this to create obstacles to overcome. Without obstacles to overcome, we drift towards boredom and depression. Many bad business decisions arise from the misled perception of the complexity of the situation.
2. Everything that exists is energy; a building, our bodies, a voice, every feeling and thought is made of the same stuff (protons, neutrons & electrons). This is I hope not controversial; I imagine that all scientists would agree with this. All aspects of your business are essentially energy.
3. Flow is the natural & healthy state of being – the universe is constantly in flow. Our bodies are constantly in flow. Our circulatory system, our digestive system, our autonomic nervous system. Any business or organisation is constantly in flow. The analogy I use most often when working with an individual or a business is the example of a river. When a river is flowing, it is full of vitality, it is vibrant and healthy and it creates an eco system where everything is inter-dependent (not dependent or independent but inter-dependent). If the river becomes blocked for any reason then it stagnates and becomes smelly very quickly. There are parts of us and our businesses that are a bit smelly. The block may be visible or invisible, in awareness or outside of awareness. The essence of the work I do is to remove blocks and hence create more flow. A successful business is one where there is optimum flow.
4. The microcosm is the macrocosm – our bodies consist of approximately 70 trillion cells. Each one of these cells contains what it is to be us. The cell, the individual, the group, the organisation, the universe all reflects each other because the whole is contained in each and every part.
5. The outer is a reflection of the inner – We all operate in a world where we take the outer world as primary, as somehow more real. However many cultures live as if the outer world is merely a reflection of our inner world. The most recent proponent of this view is to be found within Quantum Physics. It started with an Austrian physicist, Erwin Schrodinger who in 1935 created an experiment now known as “Schrodinger’s cat” which maintained that it was the intention of the observer which determined whether the cat was alive or dead. Both possibilities exist until such time as the observer decides and creates the reality. This idea was taken up and expanded upon by David Bohm and the neurophysiologist, Karl Pribram who maintained that what we call the outer world is simply a projection or reflection of our inner consciousness. If true, this has a profound impact on how we run our businesses and why some businesses are successful, whilst some businesses fail.
Any police officer on the planet will tell you that if 5 or 6 of us witness a car accident 20 metres away, then will see a completely different car accident. And the differences are quite radical. Some of us see a red car; some of us see a green car. Some see a woman driver and some see a male driver and so on. We literally create our own reality each and every day. It always amazes me that we assume we have so much inter-subject agreement between us because my wife and I can never agree on what we said or saw this morning let alone a week ago.
Most businesses spend 99% of their time preoccupied with the outer world, e.g. creating business plans, financial plans, marketing plans and re-organising divisions and departments. This is rearranging the furniture of the business. What if, instead, the business spent 3% or 4% of their time looking inwards to the inner dynamic of the business? Even a 1% shift in the inner dynamic of the business will create a meaningful change in the outer reality and performance of the company. Test it empirically.
There are two quite separate but related aspects to Business Alchemy:
1. Business Leaders accessing their inner wisdom
2. Exploring the unseen dynamics of the business
Let’s take each of these in turn. So first, is the idea that business leaders need to access their inner wisdom. What does this mean? It means a couple of different things. We have created a culture where we have become very accustomed to relying upon external authority, external wisdom and external validation. We are looking outside ourselves for the answers. The alternative is to look within for solutions. Over the past 10 years of so there has been a proliferation of new approaches to the pursuit of excellence in the corporate world which includes meditation, mindfulness, conscious thinking, centering etc. All of these approaches in some sense have in common the idea of looking within for different answers.
Business leaders need to step back from and step out of the frenetic busyness of the outer world. We are all suffering from information overload (or infobesity / data smog) which impairs decision making. There is a massive amount of research which shows how ineffective decision-making is directly related to data overload. Within the last 12 months I have personally sat with approximately 20 CEO’s of small, medium and large businesses and told them “if you and your entire staff did 30% less in the business and detached from the company’s energetic field, the business would almost certainly generate greater revenue and profit”. The surprising and slightly shocking response was that not one CEO disagreed with me; rather all of them intuitively thought this was correct. But of course none of them quite knows how to implement this even if they had the courage to do so. It starts at the top. If senior executives model this behaviour then others will follow.
Another way of looking at this switch is to see a movement away from the head brain to the heart brain. It is only very recently that neurologists have adopted the term “heart brain” and commenced research into this important area. The head brain, which dominates western culture, is programmed to create obstacles. If we run out of obstacles to overcome we get depressed. Why do we need obstacles? So we can feel a hero when we overcome them. The activity of the head brain is a cycle of addiction; hence the head brain has created an addicted culture. In contrast, the heart brain avoids obstacles, creates solutions and never needs to be the hero; does not need the credit or the applause.
What is the heart brain? Research shows that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated centre for receiving and processing information. The nervous system within the heart enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex.
The heart generates the body’s most powerful and most extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field. Compared to the electromagnetic field produced by the brain, the electrical component of the heart’s field is about 60 times greater in amplitude, and permeates every cell in the body. The magnetic component is approximately 5000 times stronger than the brain’s magnetic field and can be detected several feet away from the body with sensitive magnetometers.
The heart is a pump. Like any pump it exerts and receives. The circulatory system of the human being is a closed system. What goes out must come back. The heart pushes blood to the 70 trillion cells in our body. It does this via capillaries. If we put all the capillaries in our body side by side then they would stretch for 90,000 kilometres. So with every beat of the heart, the heart is pushing blood 90,000 kilometres. In fact there are three movements of the heart not two. The heart exerts, it relaxes and then it receives. What is pushed out comes back. In the West this is one of the basic laws of physics – for every action there is a reaction; in the East this is called Karma. What happens if less comes back than is pushed out? Pressure – high blood pressure.
This is exactly how the universe works; it is exactly how your business works. Just as with the heart, in our business, what we push out comes back. It is guaranteed. If we are consciously or unconsciously wanting or expecting a business with a value of £10m, guess what – that is what comes back. If we are consciously or unconsciously expecting a business with a value of £500 m then that is what comes back. If we are consciously or unconsciously expecting the business to fail – guess what? This is where the saying “What goes around, comes around” originates or “what you sow is what you reap”. We spend serious amounts of time and resources trying to control “what comes around” which is complete insanity; instead of looking at “what goes around”. If there is a block (against the natural flow of energy) then pressure arises. In order to stay alive, we have to diminish, dissolve or eliminate the block. So it is with your business.
The head brain is big into “control”. Control only takes us so far. In fact control begets control. What the heart teaches us is that after exertion we need to relax and learn to receive. Without relaxing, we receive less and pressure builds with near fatal results.
The heart is an extraordinary knowing brain. Dr Rollin McCarty, a neurocardiologist at HEARTMATH Institute in California, undertook some research, which has now been replicated with a 94% success ratio across 30 research institutions in America. Random people are selected and electrodes are positioned on their head and their heart. A computer is fed 1000 selected images, 70% of which are benign – puppies, people cuddling etc and 30% are macabre – someone being stabbed, a car crash etc. These images arise randomly at 10 second intervals. Between 5 and 6 seconds (never less than 5 and never more than 6) before every macabre image the heart registers distress. This is repeated to 94% accuracy. No one knows how it does this. The conclusion from neorocardiologists is that the heart is connected to a form of intuition that is not bound by time and space. In my view, this is the tip of the iceberg of the ability and capability of the heart.
Business Leaders need to step back from and step out of their business and move from their head to their heart. This takes practice as we have become disconnected from our heart. Our head brain has “separated us from the heart of the matter” and individuals, who are very successful in a situation, which seemed complex and or difficult, are said to “have had their heart in it”. I want to mention an important aspect of moving from the head brain to the heart brain. Of course the head brain does not want you to make this shift. In fact, the head brain will tell you that you will end up soft and ineffective in the colosseum of the business world. Alpha males and successful business women who have fought hard to overcome gender bias, always invariable express the fear or anxiety that this will mean they are less sharp, less ruthless and less effective. In fact the reverse is always the case. The only way to know for sure is to test it empirically.
When I was in Russia recently with my wife we were told by someone on the edge of the Putin administration that for 2 years now everyone has been regularly prepared to announce his marriage to the ex Russian gymnast with whom he is madly in love and is rumoured to have children, but on each occasion the arrangements have been cancelled because Putin is very worried that if others both internally within Russia and outside Russia see him as in love then they will conclude he is weak and not the strong man he wants to project. So, unless you want to invade Ukraine or the Baltic states, you are safe to drop into your heart more of the time.
Let’s now look at the second aspect to Business Alchemy; exploring the unseen dynamics of the business. The nature of an individual is such that we are aware of 5% – 10% of who we are, which means that 90% – 95% of who we are, is outside of awareness. We may differentiate between these two states as being conscious and unconscious. Organisations are no different. Behavioural Science looks at measuring events in the outside world and forming conclusions about our decision-making and judgment. Two individuals who specialise in this research are Paul Dolan who is the professor of Behavioural Psychology at the London School of Economics and Daniel Kahneman who is a senior professor at Princeton University and a Nobel Prize winner in Economics. They are both highly respected heavy weight academics. Both have spent many decades researching human decision-making and judgments. What is interesting is that they both show in different ways that whilst we convince ourselves that we are fully informed about the nature of our decision making, in reality most of our decisions are informed by data completely outside of our awareness. All research in this area is based upon external data in the outer world. But what about the data in the inner world outside of awareness.
The unconscious mind is in fact running and in some cases ruining our lives. And so it is with our business. This can best be illustrated by the proverbial iceberg, 5% – 10% of which is above the water and fully seen; 90% – 95% is below the water and unseen. This is a wonderful picture because it allows us to see the whole. In reality the submerged part is out of sight and whilst we see the 10%, it is the 90% which does the damage, ripping the hulls of ships etc. Business Alchemy is concerned with the 90% below the waterline, which is out of sight and creating a block.
Another approach within business alchemy is to ask a couple of questions that rarely get tabled, particular at board meetings. “What is the heart of your business?” or of equal interest, “What is the soul of your business?” If we allow some simple reflection upon these two questions we may not only be surprised by the results but we will often discover how and where the business is working against itself – literally keeping itself stuck. When we free these blocks, the resultant flow in the business can be quite dramatic.
Another portal for business alchemy is the role of intention and alignment. Intention is an immensely powerful and much under-rated phenomenon. Nothing exists in the universe without intention. This hotel would not exist without intention, your business would not exist without intention, you would not exist without intention etc. The difficulty with intention is that there is both conscious intention and unconscious intention. How many people want to lose weight but don’t? How many single people say they are desperate for a relationship but stay single? How many businesses maintain that they want to double their revenue and/or profit but stay the same? What we always find when we start working with a business that is struggling or under performing is that there is a conflict around intention or at the very least a lack of clarity around the intention of the business. This is critical.
The conflict maybe between the conscious and unconscious intent of the business or it maybe there are visible or invisible differences between the senior executives around the intention of the business. Either way, once these are exposed and the differences eradicated, the business moves forward often dramatically.
The other aspect of intention is alignment. Once complete clarity around intention has been achieved then it is important for the whole business to embed this in its DNA. The intention needs to cascade down through the organisation and be consistently reinforced so that it becomes embedded and creates the electro-magnetic field for the organisation. This is what we mean by becoming fully aligned.
A business has an identity, a heart and a soul. The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. When I walk into any business, whether it employs 55,000 people or 5 people, within 5 to 6 minutes I can literally smell the essence of the business. It is like having an intuitive X-Ray of the business. Like any X-Ray it often shows up the blocks very clearly.
Put simply, business alchemy asks “What is blocking the natural flow of your business?” There are many unconscious belief systems embedded within a business, particularly around money, wealth creation, grievance and revenge. So, in summary, business leaders should:
➢Take time out, get into their heart and discover a reservoir of inner wisdom which is far superior to anything available in the outside world
➢Discover the unconscious blocks which are restricting the natural flow of their organisation and are limiting the potential of the business.
About Andrew Wallas
Andrew Wallas embodies a rare combination of highly successful businessman and intuitive corporate shaman. He is both recognised in the outer world as a respected businessman with a sharp intellect and acumen, as well as being seen as an inner world guide with a deep insight and mystical intuition. He began his career in business in 1974 and was highly influential, developing companies, which were sold for £20 million, £38.5 and £52 million. He has extensive experience of starting, developing and selling businesses.
Read more about Andrew here:
Andrew is also running a one day workshop with the Bulghari hotel if you’re interested. Here are the details and contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like further information or to book:
This unique one day workshop offers an exclusive opportunity for participants to benefit from Andrew Wallas’s bespoke Business Alchemy. Using his 30-year entrepreneurial acumen and honed intuition, he will identify the hidden dynamics of your business. This experiential day is for chairmen, chief executives, other directors and entrepreneurs of both large and small companies seeking to achieve a competitive edge in their own market place. This opportunity to expose and remove some of the hidden obstacles to the growth of your business is available at a significantly lower cost to a full package of Business Alchemy in your offices. This unique hybrid of business alchemy will achieve:
Increased revenue and profitability
Greater clarity of purpose
More satisfaction for employees
Surprising and unexpected opportunities for growth
More creative energy, less political conflict
Greater collaboration, less competition
Internal and external respect for the organisation
Includes: drinks upon arrival in the Spirit Room
Breakfast, Buffet lunch, Teas & Coffees included all day