Consciousness research is no longer a futuristic mission as it has rapidly and truly entered the fields of leadership development, neuroscience, the study of emotional intelligence, mindfulness in management, as well as “leadership and the new science” with its worldview of fundamental interconnectedness.
Such research is shedding new light on the power of practices of connectedness, such as deep dialogue, meditation, nature immersion, art, relational leadership, and practices for health and thriving, to transform a leader’s consciousness as the highest point of leverage for entrepreneurial creativity that embeds social purpose. Layered on top of such practices are insights from quantum physics and related disciplines that offer a radically different view of organizational life. Such insights help managers understand how the reflective and relational practices work to change a person at the deepest level of their identity. By giving people an experience of connectedness that increases their relational awareness of how their actions impact others and nature, and then reframing that experience through the lens of new paradigm science, leaders choose to pursue business as a force for good not only because of the analytic business case for it, which remains important, but because of who they are being.
As every self-aware leader knows the quality and degree of concentration of the thoughts you think shapes your whole approach to business relationships, group emotions, resiliency and bounce back capacity, building organization’s with strong purpose and human values, positive organizational cultures, high-engagement work systems, and deeply embedded creativity. A recently released Stanford University Press volume synthesizes years of research showing how the inner world of the executive shows up in its outer forms and how you cannot build a flourishing enterprise, unless you learn to thrive and can enable, often through modeling, the flourishing of others.
Drawing on the state-of-the-art scholarship in conscious leadership and its grammar of interconnectedness, this third track asks us to envision 21st century leadership development and management education for the purpose of advancing the ideals of a world where business can excel, all people can thrive, and nature can flourish. This track invites us to ask: “if anything imaginable where possible and there were no constraints whatsoever, what and how should our business schools be teaching, to bring the field of management education to its finest hour?
This track envisions business schools and centers for executive education as effectively extending their immense influence as agents of world benefit while making new connections across scholarly domains. How could management development be enriched by “the biology of leadership” or the fields of positive psychology, positive neuroscience, and reflective practices? How about the role of the humanities with its focus on philosophies of the good life, its appreciation of history, the arts, the world’s great religions—indeed, domains that contain a depth of insight needed by management-as-a-liberal-art, helping to educate leaders to effectively address the world’s most significant opportunities? Or how about envisioning management education in creative “design studio” terms where people learn the power of intention and “conscious evolution” to enliven bold ideation, rapid prototyping, and Global Goals moonshot entrepreneurship—learning how to turn social and global issues into bona-fide and big-league business opportunities?