Thom Jeavons: “Business Practice, Spiritual Practice, and Leading Change: Blurring Lines & Looking for Insights”

In recent decades modern management practice has paid increasing attention to the “soft side” of organizations – focusing on social dynamics, human relations, even ethics – in efforts to create organizations that are more effective in fulfilling their missions. Some Quakers were pioneers in creating successful businesses that were very profitable despite Friends uneasiness about acquiring significant wealth. We also know over many years Friends have been leaders in government and philanthropic efforts to improve the welfare of society as a whole. Our history suggests a positive relationship between a commitment to clear spiritual and moral values and success as a leader in these nominally “secular” spheres. This session will explore the ways in which some central values and ideals of Quakerism (and other spiritual traditions) intersect with business and management practices to shape and undergird leadership that works in enhancing the effectiveness of organizations in changing times.

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