Conscious Business: Social Responsibility, Institutional Innovation and Missions that Matter
Business represents the leading edge of business innovation. This show looks at the emerging world of conscious business and examines the strategies, leaders, cultural conditions and new markets that are driving its evolution. Topics include issues of distributed leadership, the growing importance of mutual trust and respect in business, and actualizing high ideas in a business environment.
Listen to dialogues on revolutionary topics with influential thought leaders in all walks of business and professional development. If you want to “do good” while “doing well,” this show will light the way.
Current Podcast Episodes – Always Free!
Episode 28: Bright Green Future
Ross Robertson and Alex Steffen assess the bright future bright green environmentalism can deliver today. Growth means changing how we develop, rather than stunting innovation.more.
Episode 27: Megatrends II: Beyond the Information Age
Patricia Aburdene, Theo and Duff conclude their discussion arc on the whether wisdom is a necessity to process business data. Will this megatrend carry us from the information age into a new economy of consciousness or can CEOs succeed based on the size of their internal metrics?more.
Episode 26: Megatrends: 2010 with Patricia Aburdene
The day after Easter, social forecaster Patricia Aburdene shares her new book's research and implications on why modern business must shift spirituality from the personal to organizational. All under the big tent Megatrend she calls "Conscious capitalism".more.
Episode 25: The Many Models of Model Business
Esteemed management philosopher, and author of over 15 books on management, Henry Mintzberg explores with us the paradoxes of management and the many ways to model a business.
He continues his discussion with us on the importance of more conscious business practices. The discussion ranges from the effectiveness (and limitations) of cooperative run organization, to the implications of having a country where things are leaning far too heavily toward the economic sector. Listen in to hear the full discussion in this 2nd part of a two-part series.more.
Episode 24: Henry Mintzberg: On Moving Toward a Balanced Society
Henry Mintzberg, internationally renowned academic and author on business and management, joins us this week to discuss his insights into the conscious business movement. Find out why the conception that managers "plan, organize, coordinate, & control" isn't accurate, why innovation can't be institutionalized, and why efficiency can't sometimes kill creativity. Also listen in to hear Henry's perspective on what a balanced society, which has gone beyond Marx and Smith, might look like, as well as how socially responsible businesses play a part in this vision.
This is part 1 of two-part series. Listen to part 2, A Tool is Something you Use in Place of a Brain (airing next week).
- Henry Mintzberg
- The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning by Henry Mintzberg
- Managers Not MBAs: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development by Henry Mintzberg
- The Psychology of Consciousness by Robert E. Ornstein
- Coaching Ourselves
- "Developing Theory about the Development of Theory" [pdf] by Henry Mintzberg
Episode 23: We Need Leadership Not Just Heroic Leaders
How does business need to change to meet the growing complexity of the modern, global world? And what does development have to do with it? This week we continue our conversation with the author of Spiral Dynamics, Dr. Don Beck, and discuss the emergence of a more complex way of doing business. Topics we discussed included: issues of distributed leadership, the monitoring of vital signs, the significance of complimentary teams, and the growing importance of mutual trust and respect in business.
Don also discusses his relationship to Ken Wilber and his organization, the Integral Institute, as a way to highlight the difference between having high ideals (and wanting to grow) and the ability to actualize those ideals in a business environment.
This is part 2 of two-part series. Listen to part 1, Spiral Dynamics: A Theory about Making Theories.
- Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change
- Spiral Dynamics Integral by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan
- Global Values Network
- Corporate Lifecycles: How and Why Corporations Grow and Die and What to Do About It by Ichak Adizes
Episode 22: Spiral Dynamics: A Theory about Making Theories
Don Beck joins us to discuss a revolutionary model of human and cultural development called Spiral Dynamics. Originally developed by Professor Claire Graves, Spiral Dynamics is a theory that intends to make sense of the way that people respond and grow in the face of life conditions. Don Beck has been applying this model to a multitude of arenas, especially in business and culture. His most recent work in Israel, with Palestinian leaders, to help alleviate the conflict between the two groups is a perfect example of the way that Spiral Dynamics is being applied.
Also of interest is his work with companies like Southwest Airlines and Wholefoods. Listen in to hear how these companies have managed to apply the insight from Spiral Dynamics into the work place, helping create workplaces with more distributed intelligence (as in the case of Wholefoods) as well flight attendants who are also millionaires (in the cast of Southwest). Also hear about Don's five extra bottom lines (on top of the normal triple bottom-line model).
This is part 1 of two-part series. Listen to part 2, We Need Leadership Not Just Heroic Leaders.
- Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change by Don Beck & Christopher Cowan
- Spiral Dynamics Integral
- Global Values Network
- Whole Foods
- Southwest Airlines
Episode 19: The Non-Negotiables of Conscious Business: Transformation and Grooviness
Find out why transformative value and the quality of grooviness in the workplace are non-negotiables at Sounds True—a multimedia publishing company. Also listen in as Tami Simon, the founder of Sounds True, discusses the importance having a collaborative workplace tempered with strong leadership, and of choosing products that have both transformative potential and saleability. These general business practices apply to all kinds of businesses where multiple bottom lines are in effect, and where financial gain takes a backseat (at times) to making a meaningful contribution to the world.
This is part 2 of two-part series. Listen to Part 1, Why are the Employees at Sounds True So Happy?
Episode 18: Why are the Employees at Sounds True So Happy?
"I don't value the financial growth of the business at the expense of our moment-to-moment experience." - Tami Simon
Are there really companies where you can come to work and simply be yourself, where your shared humanity is as, or even more, important than the "the bottom-line". Tami Simon, the founder of Sounds True—a multimedia publishing company dedicated to disseminating spiritual wisdom—claims that there is, and that her company Sounds True is just such a place.
Listen in to hear about the conscious work practices that Sounds True employs, including emotional intelligence training, conscious meeting practices, and a hiring system that filters out those people who aren't in "values alignment" with the rest of the company.
This is part 1 of two-part series.
Episode 13: Why Cooperatives Work: Love is More Effective Than Greed
Cooperatives have been shown to be 9 times more likely to succeed than normal businesses, but why!? In simple terms one could say that "love is more effective than greed", but it turns out that it's a bit more complex. Our guests discuss many different factors involved in creating a successful cooperative, including the amount and quality of education available to members, the depth of the participation of the members, their communication skills, and even the ability to attune oneself to the needs of the collective.
Our guests also drive home the point that the spiritual and psychological development of the individual plays a tremendously important role in these communities. They suggest, though not always agreeing on the terminology, that a leadership structure based on depth and skill, should be in the forefront of the minds of those who want to create a successful cooperative.
This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to Part 1, The Cooperative Movement: It's Not Me and Mine, It's We and Ours.
- The Cooperative Movement: Globalization from Below, by Dick Williams
- International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
- Mondragon Cooerative
Episode 12: The Cooperative Movement: It's not Me and Mine, It's We and Ours
Did you know that there is a 40% chance you are a member of the cooperative movement? In this episode we speak with three brilliant voices behind the modern cooperative movement: Dick Williams, Alex Tsoucatos, and Karin Di Giacomo. At the center of the discussion is Dick's recent book, The Cooperative Movement: Globalization from Below. We explore what a cooperative actually is, looking at real life business examples including the agricultural cooperatives of the mid-west, credit unions, and other businesses you may not have even known were cooperatives.
We also discuss the history of the cooperative movement itself, seeing that in many ways the cooperative movement can be found throughout history in such basic institutions as religious monasteries and even families themselves. We finish off this intellectually engaging dialogue by debating whether or not the cooperative movement could be seen as a 3rd way to the usual dichotomy of capitalism and socialism. Listen in and find out what our guests think.
This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2: Why Cooperatives Work: Love is More Effective Than Greed
The Cooperative Movement: Globalization from Below, by Dick Williamsmore.
Episode 9: The Business of Being Spiritual
A great portion of the conscious business movement involves the sale of spiritual accessories and practices. This week we are back with Waylon Lewis, founder–editor of Elephant Journal, exploring whether or not businesses selling spiritual objects are necessarily conscious businesses. For example, can a business selling meditation cushions that have been made in sweat shops, shipped half-way around the globe, and sold by underpaid employees still be a conscious business? In this episode we dive into a number of interesting topics including the perils of spiritual materialism, the impact of business on spiritual traditions, and the politics of yoga studios.
This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1: Independent Media: Keeping Away Big Daddy.more.
Episode 8: Independent Media: Keeping Away Big Daddy
This week we converse with Waylon Lewis, founder-editor of Elephant Journal, along with Dave Rogers and Abbey Smith. In our dialogue, Waylon describes his path starting Elephant Journal, moving from a small locally distributed magazine to what is now a nationally distributed journal. Abbey brings the perspective of someone working at Elephant describing the day to day culture, while Dave brings an outside business perspective of the magazine industry as former publisher of the Onion. Together we explore Elephant's vision for and relationship to the conscious business movement, the ethical challenges of the magazine industry, and the nature of democracy and independent media. Join us for this especially hilarious episode.
This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2: The Business of Being Spiritual.more.
Episode 6: Conscious Business and the Internet
Would the conscious business movement be possible without the internet? This week we talk again with Mathew Gerson, founder and President of eConscious Marketplace, about the co-emergence of the internet and the conscious business movement. We explore how the internet has given people access to information they would never have had before and in doing so catalyzed awareness of the ethical conduct of businesses and the existence of socially and environmentally responsible alternatives. We also touch on viral marketing and the Long Tail phenomena, which explains the internet's role in the success of niche business ideas such as conscious business.
This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1, Conscious Consumerism: Can We Buy Away Our Problems?more.
Episode 5: How Responsible Can Businesses Actually Be?
In the second part of our conversation with Joshua Onysko, we explore how socially and environmentally responsible a business can really be. We touch on a number of interesting topics including Natural Capitalism—a concept introduced by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins—buy-cotting, and values as an inherent feature of a product. We explore the intricacies of small conscious businesses getting bought by large multinational corporations, and the benefits and drawbacks thereof. Joshua also shares with us an upcoming project that he is involved in, Full Transparency, that hopes to provide the customer with complete transparency of everything that goes into making Pangea products. Joshua hopes that Pangea will set a precedent that encourages other companies to follow suit. Finally, Joshua tells us about his book he is working on, Brands Are People Too, and the importance of creating brands that get better and better the deeper you dig.
This is part 2 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1: How to Build a Better Banana Peel.more.
Episode 4: How to Build a Better Banana Peel
In this episode we converse with Joshua Onysko, Founder and CEO of Pangea Organics, an organic soap and bodycare company. We kick off our conversation by digging deep into Joshua's story as well has his vision of Pangea Organics and it's non-profit counterpart Pangea Institute. During our conversation, Joshua shares with us the many innovations of his company, from the living wage he pays his employees to the all organic garden in his factory that feeds his team half the year to the fact that all his products begin to biodegrade within 48 hours of leaving their container.
Joshua also shares with us his entrepreneurial philosophy of starting a business with full integrity. He shares with us that if you want your business to only use organic ingredients, than you do it from the beginning, instead of hoping that someday down the road you'll get there.
As the conversation moves along we touch on a number of other topics including the importance of passion and empowerment in a business, biomimicry and packaging that grows herbs, and the necessity of creating new businesses that are addressing actual needs instead of artificially creating them.
Listen in and join the dialogue as we explore the cutting edge of what it means to be socially and environmentally responsible.
This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 1: How Responsible Can Businesses Actually Be?more.
Episode 3: Conscious Consumerism: Can We Buy Away Our Problems?
Is it possible to buy ourselves out of our social and environmental problems? This week we explore this question with Mathew Gerson, founder and President of eConscious Market, an online philanthropic eco-mall. In this dialogue we first dive into eConscious and its vision for becoming one of the world's largest online marketplaces for the exchange of socially and environmentally responsible goods. Mathew also tells us about eConscious' new hybird for-benefit business structure, where giving is the new getting, and 50% of all net profits are donated to a non-profit of the consumers choice.
As we dive more into our initial question, we begin to explore the contours and contributions of the conscious consumerism movement and examine its potential for social and environmental transformation. We look at how conscious consumerism is changing the nature of individual businesses, entire markets, and the individual consumer. We also examine how conscious consumerism is an opportunity for us to start bringing our values into the purchasing act.
As we go deeper still, we explore the aesthetics of care, or the trend to not only instill our prized objects with beauty and utility, but also with goodness, or a quality of being ethically created. We then bridge into the difficulty of wanting to think socially and ecologically with the reality of needing to think economically and what solutions might exist for this seeming paradox.
Finally, to close it out, we address the difficulty of wanting to encourage companies to make strides in their environmental and social impact, without validating their continued acts of irresponsibility.
So listen in and join the dialogue! And don't forget to visit Mathew and his wonderful team at www.econsciousmarket.com.
This is part 1 of a two-part series. Listen to part 2, Conscious Business and the Internet.more.
Episode 2: Arete and the Hero's Journey
In this episode we talk with the founder and former CEO of Zaadz.com, Brian Johnson, and explore conscious business in relationship to areté, the classical Greek notion of living at one's highest potential, as well as the archetypal hero's journey. During our conversation we touch on how easy it is to look at people we admire and forget that they too struggled on their path to greatness. We also touch on the notion raised in Good Business by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's, that it is the institutions with the tallest buildings that are the ones creating the culture, and thus the immense need for us to work with business in the modern day to create the world we want to see.
To find out more about Brian's latest project, check out ThinkAreté.com.more.
Episode 1: By the Way, What is a Conscious Business?
In episode 1 we introduce the conscious business show and preview what's to come. We talk with Mark Wilding about the purpose of the Marpa Center for Business and Economics and then dive into exploring what a conscious business is. During the conversation we touch on a number of issues including:
- The individual in the organization: how business founders get subsumed by their own creation.
- What it means to be conscious as an individual and as a business.
- Response-ability—the ability to choose how we respond.
Peter Senge and Otto Sharmar's U-Theory.
- The difference between intention and attention in a business.
- Integration of bread and butter business skills with high values and inspiring mission and vision.
To find out more about Mark's work check out: www.naropa.edu/marpamore.