«Big Sur, California, March 24 - 27, 2013 CONFERENCE SUMMARY | 2 Executive Summary In March 2013 a number of CEOs, top executives, and social ...»
McIntosh said that ever since Hegel, there has been a clear insight regarding how cultural evolution unfolds: when a new worldview like postmodernism emerges (as it did during the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s), a polarity is created between the new worldview and the one that it emerged in reaction to—in this case, modernism. And then due to a crisis or intractable social problem that same polarity (what Hegel called “antithesis”) is overcome by the evolution of a more encompassing worldview that harmonizes them (what Hegel called “synthesis”). Ever since the 1960s, the postmodern worldview (which advocates environmentalism, pluralism, and egalitarianism) and the modern worldview (which advocates capitalism, individualism, and libertarianism) have been in bitter conflict in American society—that is, they have been stuck in Hegel’s stage of antithesis. Thus, CONFERENCE SUMMARY | 12 ICE’s mission is to move the worldview of postmodernism from the reactive stage of antithesis into the more integrative stage of synthesis.
To accomplish this, ICE will be encouraging postmodernists to move away from their narrow focus on the pathologies of modernity (for example, the extremes of wealth and the destruction of indigenous cultures). The prominent activist, author, and critic of capitalist excess, Naomi Klein, is a good example of a postmodernist who seems to focus only on the pathologies of modernist capitalism. But according to ICE’s integral vision, the key shift needed by postmodernists like Klein is to realize that both the pathologies and achievements of modernism are closely intertwined—as is true for the positive and negative aspects of any worldview. So, instead of attacking only the dark consequences of capitalism, postmodernists need to highlight its noble contributions as well, such as raising many people out of poverty. If postmodernists can soften their attack on modernism and start to appreciate capitalism more, this in turn will encourage modernists to be less defensive and begin to embrace postmodern environmental values. In short, ICE’s integral approach will encourage these defensive and narrow-minded worldviews to begin to appreciate one another. And this more tolerant and inclusive-minded approach can help soften—and perhaps even resolve—the pernicious political polarization of our age, which contributes so much to the ineffectiveness of various progressive movements.
A further key to ICE’s approach is to address the challenge of climate change by articulating proposals that appeal to both sides of the polarized argument. For example, many new green technologies can both make a solid contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and stimulate global economic development. In this both/and approach, the modernist value of economic growth is honored and so too is the postmodernist value of environmental protection. In sum, ICE aims to reduce intractable polarization in the political sphere by helping former antagonists move beyond either/or to both/and thinking as well as to embrace win/win solutions.
Using this diagram, Phipps stated that each American election over the past half-century has essentially boiled down to who can capture the most moderns. Reagan did this effectively in the 1980s, just as Clinton did in the 1990s.
But since 2000, the Republican party has increasingly risked offending too many of its moderns (conservatives, libertarians, centrists, and independents) by letting the traditionalists dominate their central message. According to Phipps, we have reached the “twilight of traditionalism” with the recent presidential victories by Obama. In other words, the Republican party’s traditional base is now offending too many moderns, resulting in lost elections. Thus, the traditionalists no longer have the power to deliver a winning president (to be kingmaker, so to speak). Instead, Phipps noted that because the overall center of America continues to move toward postmodern values (for example, in May 2012 Obama became the first sitting president to announce his support of same-sex marriage), the traditionalist wing of the Republican party must evolve or its power will diminish.
With this background in mind, Phipps then proceeded to his main point about the future of an integral political vision. According to ICE’s integral approach to social change, the political platform that most creatively and effectively builds on the strengths of each of the three worldviews is the one that will have the most success. In this sense, an integral politics means that values from traditionalism, modernism, and postmodernism need to be synthesized together into a novel package that transcends the old style of compromise—what Phipps called “splitting the difference.” The new, integral approach instead will offer a novel synthesis that might be described like Goldilocks’s porridge: it cooks the ingredients until they are just right.
To obtain this optimal mix, Phipps and ICE are testing specific messages to be included in their integral political vision. For example, a progressive Democrat could be more integral by coming out in favor of prayer in school; this would be an offer that appeals to the traditional worldview. In general, the key to this approach is to make value differences in the three worldviews less antagonistic to each other. As noted by McIntosh, a good place to start will be to reduce the antagonism between postmodernism and modernism. Overall, both McIntosh and Phipps think the integral approach will reduce the level of threat that different constituents feel to their worldviews. These worldviews are not going away any time soon, so by putting them at ease, so to speak, there is a much better chance of bringing forth a new integral vision in politics.
Conscious Energy Performance and Renewal: Tips From Tony Schwartz Tony Schwartz is the founder and CEO of the Energy Project, a company that helps individuals and organizations optimize energy, engagement, focus, and productivity by harnessing the science of high performance. Schwartz began his presentation by dispelling the common notion that we need more time to be more productive. It’s not that we need to manage our time better; rather, we need to CONFERENCE SUMMARY | 14 manage our energy better. Because no matter how well we manage our time, it will always be finite.
But our personal energy is not. We can learn new techniques that grant us more energy and capacity, which will enable us to meet the rising demands in today’s work environments. Through various exercises and presentation slides, Schwartz drove home his point: it’s not the hours you invest, or even the degree of engagement that’s important. Rather, it’s the amount of sustained energy you have and how efficiently and effectively you use it every day.
Most companies are concerned with the degree of engagement in their workers. The traditional definition of that term is “the willingness to invest discretionary effort on the job.” Many studies have shown there is a well-established connection between the degree of employee engagement and the resulting level of performance. But Schwartz’s goal is to promote a more inclusive understanding of engagement that he calls sustainable engagement, which is the degree to which each employee is sustaining four kinds of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Schwartz contrasted his new approach with the well-known Towers Watson study of engagement.
While Towers Watson measures the willingness of employees to do discretionary activities, it has overlooked the capacity to do them. Schwartz, instead, makes the discrimination between willingness and capacity more explicit in his consulting work. Thus, the Energy Project adds to the Towers Watson perspective the focus on the four kinds of energy just mentioned (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual).
To make this a bit clearer, Schwartz provided a chart showing the operating margin percentage of companies according to the degree of engagement at their workplaces. (Note: In the first two items listed below “engagement” means “traditionally defined engagement” according to Towers Watson.
This is different from Schwartz’s new definition of “sustainable engagement.”). Thus, companies with
Lowest level of engagement have an operating margin of 9.9% Highest level of engagement have an operating margin of 14.3% Highest level of sustainable engagement have an operating margin of 27.4% Thus, the companies with the highest level of sustainable engagement have an operating margin nearly twice the level of those with the traditional definition.
Since the business world thinks in terms of value exchanges (this for that), Schwartz envisions a new set of them. In the near future we will likely move beyond the old fashioned notion of work being a value exchange of “time for money,” and in its place we will start to think in terms of four new value
exchanges in the workplace:
Emotional energy: We appreciate our employees for their highest engagement.
Mental energy: We provide boundaries to our employees for the optimal focus of their attention.
Spiritual energy: We provide higher purpose to our employees for their passion.
In each case there is a more optimal value exchange that results in greater employee productivity. For example, with respect to the growing problem of scattered attention in the workplace (low mental energy), Schwartz recommends that high performing companies provide the appropriate boundaries for their employees to focus their attention.
In response to a question, Schwartz said that when the Energy Project consults with a company, it has a high success rate (about 95%) due to its ability to implement peer support. Peer groups hold members accountable to the new energy-efficient behaviors. Schwartz maintains that a community of like-minded practitioners is key to adopting these new techniques. Lastly, Schwartz discussed his
concept of The Energy Quadrants:
When a company is poorly managed, the workers will spend most of their time on the left side of the zones (survival and burnout). But integral leaders and CEOs are the ones who are effective at mobilizing, focusing, inspiring, and sustaining the company’s overall energy profile. This means that the company’s employees spend most of their time on the right side of the zones (high performance and renewal). Overall, Schwartz drove home the point that for optimal performance we also need optimal renewal. The most conscious companies are now learning the close connection between these two, and they are reaping the benefit of greater productivity as well as sustainability.
point system whereby participating employees who do physical activity of any kind (running, yoga, etc.) will obtain points. Then, different teams, groups, stores, and regions compete among each other. This system has been so successful that 65% of team members have been participating voluntarily.
Consciously Integrating the Worlds of “Rich” and “Poor” On Tuesday afternoon, Lynne Twist and Blake Mycoskie, discussed how both conscious philanthropy and conscious business can integrate the world’s resource-rich and resource-poor in ways that are more respectful and empowering for all involved. As a socially responsible philanthropist, fundraising guru, and proponent of the wisdom of indigenous cultures, Twist described her rich work experiences from around the globe that have contributed toward a sustainable vision for human life. She began by questioning the prevalent usage of the terms “rich” and “poor,” which she thinks have distorted our understanding of the real value in both industrialized cultures and indigenous ones. As the author of the award-winning book, The Soul of Money, Twist ironically noted that the so-called poor cultures and nations are the ones that have taught her the most about values, money, and abundance. Those whom the industrialized West deems to be poor are actually quite innovative, resilient, and courageous. Thus, we need to find a new vocabulary that honors the inherent wisdom and wealth of the indigenous lifestyle on its own terms.
Twist shared a story that exemplified how we also can move beyond the degrading and unsophisticated concept of “charity” and toward the more generative concept of “solidarity.” During the Ethiopian famine in 1984-85, Twist lived with and became close to seven mothers there. As she bore witness to their grieving process, she was struck by how dignified and meaningful their rituals for honoring death were. Then, as if it were some kind of synchronicity, Twist flew immediately to New York City to discuss fundraising with precisely seven urbane and financially endowed women in the heart of Manhattan. By creating a sense of solidarity (not charity) between both groups of women, Twist helped channel funds to Ethiopia so that the surviving children could attain Ph.D.s and law degrees and rise to prominent places within their society. The beauty of this trans-Atlantic partnership was that women from two different sets of circumstances met as true equals. And as a result of their decade-long collaboration, both groups of women transformed their lives.
Because Twist has such an innovative view of wealth and money, she was not shy to say, “I love asking for money. I think fundraising is totally sacred.” As she touched upon aspects of her work, some in the conference saw it as the natural complement to Conscious Capitalism, but in Twist’s case, it is called conscious philanthropy. And the parallels to what the Conscious Capitalism movement is advocating are quite apparent: conscious philanthropy involves a higher purpose, a win-win approach, and conscious leadership and culture—all applied to fostering the flow of money away from fearbased objectives (military spending, for example) and toward humanity’s most pressing issues (the environment, education, and health). In this regard, Twist mentioned her leadership of the CONFERENCE SUMMARY | 17 Pachamama Alliance, which works with indigenous people of the Amazon and applies their wisdom to educate and inspire individuals everywhere to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.