The Art of Conscious Business: Taking the World as your Teacher

What is this new kind of business, infused with consciousness, awareness and impact, that is emerging in the world? How do we align with our own sense of purpose in service of the larger world? What are some of the core practices that we can take up, that will set us down the path of personal mastery and self-efficacy? How do we treat the entire world as our teacher and learn the art of being conscious in the work we do in our lives?

Listen in as Fred Kofman, Bill Torbert, Brian Robertson and Rand Stagen offer some of their perspectives on these rather big questions.

This recording is a weaving together of a number of Waking Up the Workplace interviews into a 25-minute narrative on how we practice the art of Conscious Business.

In this session we explore…

  • Why the world is asking for a new way of collaboration that is based in mutual vulnerability and transformation
  • How business could hold the solutions to the most complex problems facing communities and societies around the world
  • Why the biggest issue for the Conscious Business movement is to move from the realm of theory, into practice and application
  • How to use your awareness to sense into what reality is asking from you in the moment
  • Why starting with your pain and listening out for the ‘hollow sounds of dissatisfaction’ is the first step to relating to the world as your teacher
  • How speaking into people’s hearing is the heart practice of business and allows you to build long-term relationships
  • How personal mastery is the art of approaching experience with full openness and confidence



Download the Recording

Date of Interview: 1st October 2012

And if you would like the full interviews that we used in this session you can find them here.


About the Speakers

Rand Stagen is the Senior Partner of Stagen, a management consulting firm that specializes in strategy, execution, and leadership development. In his role, Rand is responsible for the oversight of delivery teams comprised of consultants, executive coaches, and subject matter experts. His firm partners with mid-market companies throughout North America to create Next- Level Results and sustained high performance. Prior to founding the Institute, Rand was President of Presido Media Group, a publisher of newspapers and magazines in the Southwest.

A seasoned entrepreneur, he has been featured in The Dallas Morning News, The Columbia Journalism Review, on Fox-TV. Rand is a former President of the Young Entrepreneur’s Organization (YEO), a national resource for YPO, and has served as Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Metrocrest Healthcare System. He earned his B.A. from Southern Methodist University and lives in Dallas with his wife and daughter.


Brian Robertson is an experienced entrepreneur, CEO, and organizational pioneer. He is most well-known for his work developing Holacracyâ„¢, an organizational operating system that concretely embodies the new capacities called for by many organizational thought-leaders today.

Brian’s passion for software and business began early: he began programming at age six, and launched his first software-related business at age twelve.  His initial work with Holacracy™ took place at Ternary Software, an award-winning fast-growth software company he founded and led for seven years and which was recognized as one of the world’s most “democratic” workplaces.

The system he initially developed there has continued to evolve and spread in the years since under the stewardship of HolacracyOne, an organization Brian co-founded to further develop the method and bring it to the world. He currently works with HolacracyOne to help consultants and change agents bring its evolutionary approach to organizations across the globe.


Bill Torbert is now Professor Emeritus of Management at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, and has also served as the school’s Graduate Dean and Director of the PhD Program in Organizational Transformation. He has been involved in the founding of many academic programs, institutions as well as serving on the boards of numerous scholarly journals.

Outside the academy, Bill has consulted widely including projects with Odebrecht Construction [Brazil], Volvo and UBS Warburg [England], Lego [Denmark], Center for Creative Leadership [USA]) and served on the Boards of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Trillium Asset Management (the first and largest independent social investing advisor).

Bill is well known for his theories, cases, surveys, and lab and field experiments in regard to developmental transformation at both the personal and organizational levels, as well as within science itself, undergirded by an action research process exercised in real-time, everyday life, called “developmental action inquiry.” Unlike most purely third-person, analytic social science research, action inquiry integrates first-person, second-person, and third-person research/practice in real-time. He has written numerous books, perhaps most famously: Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership (Berrett-Koehler, 2004).

Torbert received a BA, magna cum laude, in Political Science & Economics and a PhD in Administrative Sciences from Yale University, holding a Danforth Graduate Fellowship during his graduate years. He taught at Yale, Southern Methodist University, and Harvard prior to joining the Boston College faculty in 1978.

Most of all, though, he takes great pleasure and pride (not to mention occasional pain) in the ongoing development of his friends, his students, and his three sons, Michael, Patrick, and Benjamin.


Fred Kofman, Ph.D. is the co-founder and President of Axialent, an international consulting company in the areas of leadership and organizational learning. He has developed and taught programs in leadership, personal mastery, team learning, organizational effectiveness, coaching for managers and coaching for professional coaches for more than 10,000 managers at numerous blue-chip companies.

After completing a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, Fred became an assistant professor of Management Accounting and Control Systems at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, where he was named “Teacher of the Year” in 1992. In his years at MIT, he worked alongside Peter Senge as a senior researcher at the Center for Organizational Learning. Fred also helped found the Business Branch of the Integral Institute, with Ken Wilber.

Fred has led seminars in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia and presented his research at numerous academic institutions, including MIT’s Sloan School, Harvard University’s Economic Department, Harvard Business School, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of California at Los Angeles and Berkeley, University of Notre Dame, The London School of Economics, the University of Tel Aviv, Nanyang Technological Institute of Singapore, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires, and Universidad Francisco Marroquín.

Fred is the author of the book Conscious Business, which has been translated to more than 10 languages. He also wrote the  trilogy Metamanagement and his scholarly articles have appeared in publications such as Econometrica, The Journal of Public Economics, The Fifth Discipline Field Book, and The Journal of Organizational Dynamics.

Fred enjoys sports and outdoor activities such as golf, trekking, mountain climbing, scuba diving, and skiing.


Not signed up for the mini-course, but would like to be?

No problem, it’s all free. Just enter your name and email address in the form below and you’re in!

Or click here if you would like to learn more before deciding…