How Consciousness In Business Is Shifting


What if consciousness is key in business for long-term success and happiness?

I bet you’ve seen this bell curve many times before. Technically, it’s a normal distribution of some arbitrary data and helps us guesstimate probabilities within data for which specific outcomes can’t be known.

Today, we will apply this normal distribution curve to a transformation already happening in business. You could use the same method to think personally, professionally, or across an enterprise and get similar insights from the process.

The four-minute video version of this article is here.

The Basics

First, in case it has been a while since that statistics course you took in college, here are some basic concepts we need to use together in this article. If you’re already familiar with this, skip to the next section: New Ideas.

In the nearby graph, 68.26% of the data are closest to the “mean” (the tallest line in the middle of the graph). We get that by adding the 34.13% of the data on either side of the middle line, referring to it as the “first standard deviation.”

The second standard deviation refers to 27.18% of the remaining data. We get that number by adding 13.59% and 13.59%, just as we did for the first standard deviation.

An even smaller 4.28% of the data exists for the third standard deviation, and the fourth standard deviation is a minuscule 0.26% of the data. The third and fourth standard deviations are often called “outliers,” and we’ll see a few other names for them shortly.

New Ideas

You may have seen this kind of graph used to describe the product adoption lifecycle, or how tech disruption changes a marketplace. Today, we want to use it in the context of the evolution of consciousness in business To do that, I’m borrowing a version of the curve from the Legal Evolution blog courtesy of Bill Henderson: Based on the sample curve we’ve already discussed, this illustration theorizes as to how ideas move through a population over time. Leaving aside the statistically insignificant 0.13% (the true Outliers), the Innovators pick up and apply new ideas first (2.14%). They are followed by Early Adopters (13.59%), followed by acceptance and use in the Early Majority (34.13%). At that point, about half the measurable population has accepted the idea and, we hope, put it to use.

With me so far?

The theory behind this model anticipates that, at some point in time, the Late Majority and possibly even the Laggards will embrace the idea and use it in some way. The social sciences have been studying these types of trends for a while, so there is a relatively high confidence in their predictive capabilities.

Just for a moment, ask yourself: how long may it have taken for people to accept the innovative notion of a sun-centered solar system, gravity, or general relativity? Could those ideas have filtered through a population in a predictable way? What about today’s new ideas, such as quantum gravity and emergence theory?

The point here is that I believe we can find some comfort in the good old Gaussian bell curve regarding the current upheaval in civilization.



Let’s walk together through an example that is closer to home.

There are Outliers among us. These pre-Innovator explorers have been offering their gifts for some time. You already know who they are, but I’ll offer a short list from the last 30 years or so just to be clear. This is not an exhaustive list; feel free to add those you cherish as you start to get the flavor of this who’s who.


Poets With Consciousness Influence

Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, David Whyte, Mark Nepo.

Relevant Writers

Ryan Holliday, Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell, Jonathan Haidt, Jon Robson, Johann Hari, Jonah Berger, Derek Sivers, Robert A Johnson.

Physicians, Professionals, and Scientists

Dr Gabor Maté, Dr Bessel van der Kolk, Merlin Sheldrake, David Hawkins, Douglas Hofstader, Cristoff Koch, E O Wilson.

Citizen Scientists

Klee Irwin, Itzhak Bentov, Paul Stametz.

Visionary Spiritual Thinkers

Michael Singer, Eckhart Tolle, Paul Young.

Religious and Spiritual Leaders

His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Tich Nhat Hanh, Father Richard Rohr, Dr C Baxter Kruger, Pema Chodron, Jamie Geller, Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, John O’Donohue, and these 25 contemporary influential Muslims.

Revolutionary Business and Not-For-Profit Action-Takers

Muhammad Yunus, Greta Thunberg, Jimmy Lai, Dan Pallotta, and the leaders of 7,000+ courageous certified B-corp companies worldwide.


Are you starting to get the idea? These individuals and their acolytes are just a few examples of the 0.13% of true Outliers among us now.

Doing a little math, as of right now the world population clock shows 8.052 Billion people here on Earth, so that means a guesstimate of 10.4 million true Outliers and acolytes.

Innovators and Early Adopters

We can argue about how fast ideas spread, but let’s keep it simple. The shortlist of Outliers above was preceded by other earlier Outlier influencers, theorists, and researchers, so let’s allow for one or two generations between Outliers and Early Adopters as a reasonable time scale. Agreed?


Thus, from the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers could represent one shift from Outlier to Early Adopter. Same thing from Baby Boomers to Millennials. One could say that Boomer Outliers’ ideas are now in the Innovator and Early Adopter phases.

On the other hand, things seem to be speeding up. Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holliday, for example, were born in 1977 and 1987 respectively, and they have had wide acceptance and early adoption within their own generations, which shows how the time scale seems to be compressing in on itself.

Nevertheless, let us presume that the Innovators (2.14%) and Early Adopters (13.59%) are hard at work with these newer ideas, which means 15.86% of us are now part of the transformation. That’s still only 1.28 billion people actively using the new ideas from one or two generations ago.

Is 1.28 billion enough for a tipping point on a planet populated by more than 8 billion people? It’s certainly enough for disruption!

How Do We Apply All This To Consciousness In Business?

Will you permit another assumption? If so, would you admit that the level of consciousness in business is improving? We can support this assumption with evidence, such as the demand for more equitable compensation, greater inclusion of cultural values, intolerance of toxic leadership, acceptance of neurodiverse and gender-diverse individuals, the rise of women business leaders, etc.

Earlier, we mentioned B-corp certification, which is evidence of enterprise-wide commitment to sustainability. Worldwide movements are already in place that support “the commons” and much more socially- and environmentally-aware forms of reciprocal commerce.


Can we agree that all of this is a positive shift in business consciousness?

“So Bill,” I hear you ask, “are we in the Innovator or Early Adopter phase?” May I suggest that there’s a better question?

If the shift in consciousness is coming anyway, how will you position yourself and your business to lead in the process?

And, following from that question, how can you expect to take the lead in the new consciousness – whatever it may be – using old-consciousness processes and practices?

Today’s mainstream consciousness processes and practices are still working pretty well, right? And you could ride them right to the end of the line, just like Blockbuster Video, Kodak, cable television, landline telephones, and One-Hour Photo.

(Inset laughing emoticon.)

You can keep on funneling and digital marketing and click-baiting and reverse-engineering your way through the incredibly-complex algorithms on which your livelihood has now come to depend…or not.

You could figure out how to use AI against AI to manipulate the markets…or not.

You could transform your whole enterprise into an AI model. Then what?

Let’s Talk AI

There may always be enough Late Majority and Laggard problems to solve with Mainstream Consciousness for you to kick the ball down the road for a generation or two and still hope to make a decent living. However, in that time scale discussion that we skipped over so lightly, I hope that the acceleration point was made: acceptance of new ideas has been time-compressing in on us. AI is just one example of that compression: when everything – especially in business – is AI (and it must be eventually), how will we human organisms thrive?


Outlier futurists (0.13%) envision AI’s ability to reduce the cost of production so dramatically that there will be no profit motive left, and that’s not just an idea; for proof, visit a Tesla factory. This is seen as a very good thing for civilization. However, if your business makes or delivers stuff, from produce to packing peanuts to pretzels to printouts to Porsches, AI is coming for you.

We already know how AI impacts creativity, but the bigger question is AI’s ability to impact content. What we learn, how we learn it, and how we provide any kind of current and continuing education are all sectors where AI can easily offer more and better results than mere human effort.

What about services? Taking business services alone, what savvy leader wouldn’t use AI for all the Aps and Admin jobs? What about sales? Recruiting and HR? Customer care? Logistics? We all know of the famous indignities of flawed software and operating systems; AI may be able to fix R&D for good, too. Undoubtedly, AI will be good at cybersecurity and defense against the dark arts, including the bad AI actors that Mainstream Consciousness continues to spawn.

Can you see where we are headed here?

I can predict with reasonable accuracy that 0.13% of you, Dear Readers, already get this, 2.14% of you are already on the bleeding edge, and 13.59% of you are thinking about it very carefully.

And, with respect, more than 65% of you are just fine thank you don’t bother me with this crap.

Even so, it is important to be aware of what’s happening. So, now that we’ve ridden this horse almost through the final turn, let’s see if it will carry us down the stretch to a win, place, or show.

The Business Consciousness Grid

As my close associates and colleagues will tell you, I grew up with a “leave no one behind” mindset that runs in my military family’s blood. That’s very much the spirit I want to bring to this final point in our conversation: the “business consciousness grid.” Since I began making it some time ago, it has grown longer and longer with more examples of how the “old” consciousness is giving way to the “new.”


Despite the odds, which we’ve already discussed at too great a length, I still have hope that more and more of us will “get it” and evolve into a better business consciousness.

No one really can say what the end state of “new” consciousness might be, and if history is any guide, it would be foolish to try. What we can say, however, is that there is already substantial evidence of how improved consciousness is better for businesses. You have already seen a number of examples of that from recent history in this way-too-long discussion. To contextualize that, our current consciousness shift appears to be somewhere between Innovation and Early Adoption, with plenty of Late Majority and Laggard resistance from the last shift that took place shortly after World War II.

You have done some heavy lifting here, and now it’s time for the reward.

Improving consciousness may be the best – perhaps the only – way to survive the coming assault on “the way things have always been done.”

Why? Because, after all, you and I are organisms with needs. If the futurists are correct, very shortly the fulfillment cost of those needs will shrink dramatically, eliminating profit from most of them. When money no longer buys the happiness you need, Dear Reader, what will fulfill you then?

The attributes of an improved consciousness might do the trick, especially since they are the ones that result in authentic relationships, durable connections, sustainable communities, and – let’s be honest – joy. If that’s unimportant to you now, ask yourself: if everything else was suddenly gone, how would I be happy? Hint: may I suggest the 2012 documentary “Happy” for the needed evidence?

So, as a great and humble but incomplete kindness, I present the ever-evolving Business Consciousness Grid. It is intended to offer a point-in-time opportunity for shifting from Mainstream Consciousness to Evolving Consciousness and, like the World Population Clock, consciousness is changing so rapidly that it is already partially outdated.

Nevertheless, we can persevere together.

To be clear, “Mainstream” refers to 81% of the population consisting of the first standard deviation plus the Laggards and those behind them, while “Evolving” captures early Adopters, Innovators, and Outliers.

Where are you in your evolutionary journey?

Mainstream Consciousness

Evolving Consciousness


What problem do I solve?

What opportunity do I empower?


I use digital marketing

I use authentic connection


Based on scarcity, pain, doubt, and indoctrination

Based on empowerment, trust, and understanding


Tactics are primary

Relationship is primary





I manage my emotions

I empathize fully with prospects


My prices are fair and fixed

My clients set a price that is fair to them


I can adapt my solutions to diversity

My clients’ diversity drives their opportunity


My solution is gender-neutral

My clients’ opportunity is gender-specific to their needs


I can work with any personality type

My clients’ personality is a pillar of the opportunity

Management style

I have the solution you need

My clients discover solutions that have been inside them all along

Coaching style

I use evidence-based best-practice methods; I’m certified

I rely on my experience to guide your heuristic awareness

Personal Style

I am confident and passionate about my solution

I listen first, ask authentic questions, and partner with you to implement the answers





Goal- and objective-based

Desire- and intention-based

Ongoing Support

Subscription Mastermind

Lifetime Pay-it-Forward Guarantee

Social Credibility

Based on size

Based on sustainable transformations

Growth Engine

Apps, funnels, structured content

Word of mouth

Education Style

Repeat what works

Discover and innovate

Business Style



Lead Magnet



Tech Savvy




It feels mainstream to offer you a challenge, although I believe you’ll understand this one, especially since it doesn’t result in a mainstream 1:1 conversation about yet another mainstream problem that you won’t have after AI is fully implemented anyhow. Here it is:

How will you begin the shift of just one characteristic of your business from mainstream to evolving consciousness?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with that first shift, right? You can do this. You owe it to your future and those who depend on your vision to help them go there with you. You can be part of the evolving consciousness in business that is shifting toward true happiness.

And how – not what – you implement that challenge will get you across the finish line. So, will it be a win, place, or show? Trick question! It’s not about competition anymore. The real question is: who wants to go there together?


Bill Protzmann launched the Musimorphic Quest in 2016 to help people rediscover evolutionary consciousness in a guided, gamified, experiential environment using the ancient transformative technology we now call music. In addition to being a true entrepreneur, Bill is a philosopher, futurist, pragmatist, and piano player who pays attention. In 2014, he received an Inspiring Hope award for Artistic Expression from the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, the industry equivalent of winning an Oscar.

For further reading, you may enjoy This Changes Everything For Good, or the Musimorphic eBooks on Sobriety or Desire and  Intention, which offer practical how-to using consciousness-changing using music with real-world opportunities.

You can reach Bill through his Quantum Coaching landing page.

Picture of Bill