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Spirited Business

Dr Jude Currivan explains the emerging business practice that is guided by intuitive insight, with a deep sense of planetary stewardship
Jude Currivan, Photo by Park Sang Hoon

This article first appeared in our Restoration Revolution issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 06 Sept 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Mai image: Park Sang Hoon

Most businesses are still organised and managed in leadership styles and structures that hark back over three decades. If tested and found still functional, that would be fine – I have a coffee grinder that’s over 40 years old. But with the increasing complexity of global inter-connectedness and the existential threat of climate change, we need a radical change to their hierarchical structures and approaches, as they are no longer fit for purpose.

Cogs in the machine

In the 1980s business consultants McKinsey, Tom Peters and others developed a model of seven ‘Ss’ to optimise corporate performance. These comprised hard Ss (strategy, structure and systems) combined with soft Ss (style, staff, skills and shared values).

Since then, while organisations incorporating their management philosophy have evolved to some extent, they still reflect the scientific and technological revolutions of the last two centuries, viewing the world as a complicated machine whose workings they can figure out and control.

Using engineering terms to measure effectiveness, human beings are resources – cogs in the machine. Business plans are blueprints for action, aligning all parts to profit-driven aims for success.

Driving over-consumption

This approach has brought unprecedented prosperity, but it also greedily drives over-consumption, environmental desecration and depletion, inequalities and epidemic levels of stress and dysfunctional behaviour.

When success and a successful life then reflect what such organisations value, people often experience a profound sense of emptiness, lack of meaning and loss of greater purpose.

Organisational purpose

Recently, though, inner personal development in the service of self and co-creative leadership and organisational purpose have come to the fore.

In Spiral Dynamics, Don Beck and Christopher Cowan expand on the work of Clare Graves. They see an emerging level of harmonising, empowered, co-creative collectives of individuals, focused on the wellbeing of all living entities and our planet.


The aim of the Spirited Business event (Findhorn, 12-15 October 2019) is to support and empower you to step into your highest aspirations as a spirited business leader; to acquire a sense of planetary purpose and embody a deep sense of connection, joy and fulfilment in your life and work.

You will acquire practical inner and outer tools and approaches to inform your most integral, intuitive and wise choices, decisions and actions to synergise systemic intelligence or what we might call ‘spirit’, to co-create the now and the future we together want.

Teal businesses

To embody such awareness, we must experience our personal selves as part of a larger, conscious and spiritual whole that also supports our individual uniqueness and nurtures lives of abundant simplicity within a healthy global ecosystem.

In Re-inventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux calls this level of awareness teal. He too emphasises the vital importance of a ‘wholistic’ word-view that sees the profound inter-connectedness and ultimate wholeness of the world, and behaves accordingly. The spirited leadership of such awareness aligns with others co-operatively and co-creatively, rather than through competition and conflict.

Such organisations also embody an evolutionary purpose and the functions required to achieve it, embedding distributed intelligence in the way all biological organisms, including human bodies and ecosystems, naturally do.

Spirited leadership

I further describe their inter-woven attributes and behaviours as eight eSSences of self and spirited leadership.

1. Servant-leader: serving the good of the whole rather than controlling the whole
2. Soul-model: authentically embodying the highest coherence of the whole
3. Seer: perceptive co-creator of the highest purpose and meaning of the organisation
4. Sensor: sensing what is emerging, and then responding and expressing rather than controlling
5. Shaper: facilitating the emergent evolutionary ‘shape’ and embodiment of the organisation
6. Space-holder: enabling inclusivity and individual/collective worth, value and meaning
And sometimes:
7. Stirrer: intervening as, when and how sensed to co-enable progressive and optimal positive change
8. Shaker: intervening as, when and how sensed to initiate (r)evolutionary change.

Such spirited businesses are now emerging; their integral decisions are guided by intuitive insights, with a deep sense of planetary stewardship. They authentically embody their purpose-led aims in their brand’s DNA. Their calls to transformational action are vital if we are to co-create the now and the future we want for ourselves and our planetary home.

Click here to find out more about the Spirited Business event at Findhorn.

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