The Practice of Integral Business
Tami Simon and Ken Wilber

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  • At the recent Integral Institute seminar on Integral Business, Tami Simon and Ken Wilber held a dialogue for an intimate audience of seminar participants and guests.

    Tami Simon is the founder of Sounds True, North America's largest publisher of spoken word spiritual teachings, a business which models itself as both "mission-driven and profit-driven," honoring "authenticity, open communication, and creativity." In this series of clips, Tami speaks about running an integral business in the real world, from spirit to the bottom line.

    Editor's Note: This series is currently in the process of being remastered—every couple weeks we will publish a much higher quality video for both streaming and download, in both Windows Media and iPod/iTunes-friendly formats.

    In the first clip of the series, Tami discusses her own motivations behind creating Sounds True, one of the world's leading exemplars of Integral business. She also begins to talk about the concept of "multiple bottom lines," which include: the quality of their products, the quality of employee experience, and the quality of the company's relationship with the surrounding community. Interestingly, Tami does not identify profit as an actual bottom line for Sounds True, but instead relates to profit as the "oxygen" the company needs in order to continue moving forward. She then discusses what may be the most important bottom line of them all—a sort of spiritual bottom line, which she refers to as simply the creation of love at the workplace. This injunction of "making love at work" helps to radically transform the relationships amongst the staff, between the employees and their projects, and between the company and the world....
     Making Love at Work (Remastered) ( 11:06 )
    Broadband  |  Dialup  |  Download WMV  |  iTunes/iPod 5/31/2004

    The fact that Tami was able to craft Sounds True as a truly integral business is nothing short of astounding, especially considering the fact that she was doing it way back in the eighties, before there was very much integral language out there to help guide her—before Ken had even developed the concept of the four quadrants! Much of her success has been facilitated by her ever-changing notion of "multiple bottom lines," which begins with a handful of simple but powerful questions: How can our processes as a business reflect our products? How can spirituality be translated into organizational life? How can we form a workplace where employees can have balanced lifestyles, and can continue to evolve as human beings? How can we create an atmosphere of genuine love, a real community in which people want to participate? And how can all of this translate into profit, the oxygen so vitally needed to put these ideals into action?
     Multiple Bottom Lines (Remastered) ( 10:56 )
    Broadband  |  Dialup  |  Download WMV  |  iTunes/iPod 6/14/2004

    How many times have you taken a vacation from your job, and after finally being able to properly relax and unwind from the daily pressures of work, you return only to feel just as burned out as you did before you took your vacation? How can we create a workplace that actually promotes sustainable lifestyles for employees? An integral business strives to do exactly that, and here Tami runs through some key components of an integral approach to business, including financial transparency and profit sharing, bringing in a contemplative dimension to the workplace, and promoting a sense of meaningful participation with the world at large.
     Mixing Business and Pleasure (Remastered) ( 09:26 )
    Broadband  |  Dialup  |  Download WMV  |  iTunes/iPod 6/21/2004

    Here we explore two different approaches to business leadership, which Tami refers to as "parenting" and "partnership" models. The former is decidedly autocratic, in which the leader acts as the mother or father of the company, and employees are essentially payed an allowance for doing their chores each week. In the communal "partnership" model, the leader often takes a much more humble approach, reaching out for employee perspectives while making important decisions. Meanwhile, an Integral approach to leadership represents the best of both worlds, in which a leader can be both strong and receptive, decisive and flexible, bold and compassionate....
     Autocracy in Communion (Remastered) ( 04:05 )
    Broadband  |  Dialup  |  Download WMV  |  iTunes/iPod 6/28/2004

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