Why are Wisdom Traditions Relevant to Business Today?

Most business folks who have perused this website are interested in the wisdom traditions angle taking the perspective that wisdom is sadly lacking in the modern world and its a very valid topic in it’s own right. Not only that but wisdom is the corrective we need in the business world right now. A small number have reacted in a hostile fashion saying that (and I joke not) “this kind of stuff has no place in business”!

I have studied, worked with, and applied many of the worlds wisdom traditions for quite some time and have no doubt now that any society or culture will tend to have problems and issues that most easily be solved by knowledge/angles/wisdom from another. There is nothing “religious” about this, nothing “woo-woo” in the slightest.

The simplest answer to this question is that this is already happening – especially in California – where so many trends which hit the rest of the world much later start. In many ways its a natural place for such developments to start – once one gets as west in the west as one can then one is facing the east. This kind of fusion has been in process for decades over there.

The 21stC will see many serious challenges for business. These will require innovation and change (even if the short term reaction has been “more of the same”). The successful businesses will be those that that innovate and change – this requires liberating personal creativity and “thinking out of the box”. It’s very difficult to do that in the predominant business paradigm which privileges process over creativity. Even if creativity is nurtured (I haven’t seen that often) most people are too overworked and exhausted by “just keeping up with the day job” – even in the “creative” sectors the output is amost entirely derivative – adverts may look slick but they all look the same, most pop music is pap.. This insight into the necessity of introducing greater wisdom (and wisdom techniques) into business has already been taken up in Silicon Valley (which is at the sharpest edge of industrial change). For example, there is a conference in San Francisco in May 2012 called Wisdom 2.0 Business one of the straplines of which is:

How do we create innovation, wellness, and the creative mindset?

The Head of Executive Development at Google calls it “the most important conference of our time”. More prosaically the conference blurb states:

Many businesses today confuse great activity with great efficiency. While people are extremely busy — always checking their emails, making constant phone calls — their actions are not effective or innovative. Stress, overwhelm, frustration, and interpersonal conflicts pervade the company culture. Company leaders then wonder why the products they create and the communication they have do not get the impact they desire.

There is a new effort, however, that focuses on the “state” from which people work, and on creating business cultures infused with mindfulness, innovation, and engagement.

The Wall Street Journal has written about these developments too. As always trends start in the US and hit Europe rather later – but for sure this “stuff” is being seen as an essential tool for people and businesses in the modern world:

“Spiritual and healing techniques—often stripped of any religion—have become part of the trappings of tech giants, along with free food and standing desks”

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