09/09/2010 01:49 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Evolutionary Leaders Call for Consciousness Evolution

A distinguished group of thought leaders, lead by Deepak Chopra, met at UCLA's Royce Hall last week to put out the call for higher levels of consciousness. Deepak started by explaining the problems we currently have can be solved by increased levels of consciousness, from the way we deal with the changing environment to our own personal happiness.

Deepak said in a flyer handed out at the event:

"The most important skill that we can develop is to be listening to the collective conversation that is facilitating evolution at the moment, and that has to be a very deep listening -- a listening that involves getting all the facts, a listening that involves emotions, a listening that involves incubating at the level of the soul."

What I hear him saying is, the deeper our consciousness, the more nuanced our understanding of life becomes and the greater our responsibility for our actions becomes. So deepening what we are conscious of is critical to the long-term success of living on this planet.

Complexity is The Challenge

In an interview with "CNBC," Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of "The Age of the Unthinkable," explained that the world has reached an existential crisis. He said that the complexities have reached a level that is beyond our ability to solve them. Adding responsibility to "the level of the soul" makes the complexity of leading a business organization even more difficult.

Deep Listening and Business

As a business leader, I am wondering how Deepak Chopra and the Evolutionary Leaders can apply their wisdom to business, which is the most powerful force on the planet today.

As CEO and Founder of Genius Stone, I have found that the first step in solving any business problem is a deep understanding of present reality, which is consistent with Deepak's advice.

The problem most often is that leaders cannot always tell the difference between their business realities and their thoughts and beliefs about those realities. With a distorted starting point, their solutions will be less effective, so we work hard to develop a deep level of understanding for the facts, and perhaps emotions, but the soul is completely off the table. Most people don't even know how to define soul.

In the opportunities for action section, the Evolutionary Leaders have defined a simpler role for business:

Working for Integrity in Commerce: Conscious businesses that are aware of the scope, depth and long range impacts of their actions are key to achieving sustainability. Business must become an ethical steward of the Earth's ecology and consciously establish an economic basis for a future of equitably shared abundance.

This sounds good, but now in addition to the soul, business leaders have to "establish an economic basis for a future of equitably shared abundance." WOW! Now it is getting real complex. Who has the level of consciousness to manage all these responsibilities? The Evolutionary Leaders are asking a lot.

Collaboration is Key

Many of the Evolutionary Leaders talked about the importance of conscious collaboration. Given the increasing levels of complexity in business and global politics, which often interfere with business, collaboration skills are essential. I work with leaders and their teams to collaborate, however the need for speed in decision making often interferes. The needs and wants of markets often change faster than the pace of decision making, and collaboration often turns into a committee, which are notorious for creating something that is useless.

While the most successful business leaders are focused on creating new realities that attract customers, most see business as a highly competitive environment, which seems the converse of collaboration.

Collaborating With God?

Life can become so complex that some want God to be their guide. The problem here is that many cannot tell the difference between God's guidance and their egos, and if they could, might find God's advice in conflict with their board or the stock holders short-term goals. If they answered their board's complaints by saying, "God told me to do it," they would certainly lose their job.

I define genius as conscious collaboration with the flow of what Emerson called "the great intelligence." Is this God? Not in the traditional definition, but if you define God as an intelligence that creates our world moment to moment, then learning to listen to the flow that comes from this intelligence is essential to working with complexity in any aspect of life.

In "The Kaybalion, a study of The Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece," who were at one time very successful societies, Hermes said, "As above, so below; as below, so above." This suggests that the spiritual rhythms and flows that come to us from the highest levels form patterns that manifest at every level of life. For business the flow of the market place is formed by the needs and wants of people, and when leaders do not listen to this flow, they often make big mistakes.

So perhaps "listening that involves incubating at the level of the soul" might make sense, if the soul is, as I believe, our portal to our divinity. If a divine flow creates all life, then it would make sense. If not, this would be a dangerous approach. In either case, more work needs to be done to apply this deep wisdom to business. As always, I look forward to your insights.