New movements—like Conscious Capitalism and others embracing passion-led workplaces—welcomed the heart. And they were a voice for diversity. But they didn’t engage spirit much beyond that.
But now, some are upping the ante. I recently spent a week in Germany with a team of senior executives and organizational development gurus who are advocates for “Leading as Sacred Practice.” That means fully recognizing people as inherently spiritual (not necessarily religious) beings. This view commits us to nourish the soul/spirit of people around us, and wherever else it shows up.
Additionally, with increasing distinction between “spiritual” and “religious,” bringing spirit into business environments is more feasible. (This idea is about bringing more spirituality to the workplace...not religion in any particular form.)
How Do Those Embracing "Leading as Sacred Practice" Get There?
In effect, once someone wakes up to this point of view, they begin to operate in the world and at work as if everything has a soul and even a consciousness—which promotes a greater curiosity and a more kind engagement. Most of all, this viewpoint opens people up to greater knowing, since they’re part of a system with divine intelligence. This leads to less arrogance or even “figuring it out” energy. It creates more openness to other ways of knowing that not only produce genuinely innovative solutions, but also treat staff, customers, competitors, and the environment more respectfully too. [See also, How "Getting it Right" Can Make You Stupid, my blog on the merits of allowing ambiguity, anomaly, etc.]
The second approach creates a similar result, but starts where the first winds up. Its advocates see the intelligence in bringing more dignity and respect in all that they do … starting with people, but extending to outside organizations, customers, collaborators, and others, as they interact more with each other and parts of the system around them. Consciously and purposefully, they start to see the larger, connected picture. The bigger picture perspective makes space for connection with an element of the divine.
What Are the Benefits?
I’ll talk more about this in the blogs that follow. For me, the emerging answer is yes:
- “Full employment” (hands, mind, heart, and soul) takes learning, but once achieved generates a highly engaged environment that’s agile and committed—and more aligned with what younger workers want to see, and creates more conducive products and services to support them.
- It taps access to greater intelligence and intuition—e.g., methods for people to interact with the spirit of their business, and get answers they otherwise wouldn’t. (Many advanced IFS and other practitioners are already doing this--e.g., helping clients identify and work with "guide" parts.)
- It enables us to restore qualities and experiences that we are wired to want, like business-appropriate rituals beyond office birthday parties.
- It makes it naturally easier to generate profits and be successful in a healthy way: i.e., not success as “I can consume more than you” but success as something that inherently feels nourishing and worthwhile, and which is kinder to the environment and uses fewer scarce resources as well.
- I expect that firms aligning with this new paradigm will be more profitable and sustainable. (I can't prove it yet, but greater insight and more differentiation lead to enhanced creativity and greater engagement. And that leads to stronger competitiveness, better retention and other benefits.)
More to come!