“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” -Albert Einstein

Beyond Analytical thinking

One of the most challenging but important ideas about management and leadership involves understanding the relationships between stakeholders. Stakeholders are often seen as separate groups, each pursuing their own interests. This type of thinking ignores the relationships stakeholders have with the business and with each other. However, business is ultimately about relationships, interconnectedness, shared purpose, and shared values that the various stakeholders of the business co-create and coevolve together.

Analytical intelligence (IQ) (dividing things up into parts and analyzing them) tends to see stakeholders as separate entities motivated primarily by self-interest therefore, being likely to have frequent conflicts that require trade-offs when those self-interests differ from each other. Leaders have difficulty seeing the big, complex picture. An additional kind of intelligence is needed; without the ability to think with holistic systems intelligence, most of what conscious capitalism is about will not make sense to people. Stakeholders should be seen as successful integration of harmony and unity.

Systems Intelligence (SYQ)

Conscious leaders tend to have high level of SYQ. They see the bigger picture and understand how different components of the system interconnect and behave over time. They anticipate the immediate as well as long-term consequences of actions. They understand the roots of problems and how the problems relate to organizational design. They create fundamental solutions instead of applying symptomatic quick fixes. Conscious leaders are also feelers; they feel the interconnectedness and oneness of the system within their being, thus, preventing many problems from occurring in the first place. This capacity is well illustrated by a story from Bian Que, a Chinese physician from 2300 years ago.

It is about three brothers, all doctors. The oldest was known for performing dramatic procedures on patients whose diseases had reached an advanced stage, and he was widely celebrated for his heroic efforts to save his patients. The middle brother was highly skilled at catching and curing diseases when they exhibited early symptoms: he was considered good for treating minor ailments and was admired only locally. The third brother had the ability to detect the earliest trace of a disease and cure it before the patient felt any symptoms at all. He was little appreciated and virtually unknown but he saved many more lives tham his more famous brothers.

The best leaders are those who prevent most problems from arising in the first place; their genius may go unrecognized and even unrewarded, but they are the most effective leaders, with keenly develop systems minds and sensibilities.

Cultivating Systems Intelligence 

Servant Leadership 

Conscious leaders are aware of the importance of service in helping their organizations realize their highest potential. They also know that helping others leads to more personal happiness. This is the secret of helpers high: we feel good when we make other people happy. It creates value for the giver and the recipient as well as for the larger community. Conscious leaders embrace transpersonal values – justice, truth, love, relief of suffering, inspiration and helping enlightenment of others – that lift them to higher levels of consciousness.


Integrity goes beyond being honest and telling the truth; it is about authenticity, fairness, trustworthiness, moral courage. It involves doing what we believe is true to our values and the right thing to do whatever the circumstances, even when it may involve substantial personal cost. Integrity is neither common nor exceptionally common in life. Everyone should unify his or her own values and virtues and express them within the context or the larger community, including where they work. Famous historical leaders with high integrity include Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. These leaders have inspired us with their high integrity and especially with their expression of moral courage.

Capacity for love and care 

Conscious leaders have a great capacity for love and care. Real power comes from combining intellectual abilities with their ability to care for things beyond themselves. Fear is the opposite of love. An organization suffused with fear is inherently less capable of real creativity and innovation. Fearful people are hyperalert, defensive and purely self-interested. Conscious leaders recognize how important it is to drive fear out of their organizations.

I think intelligence is pretty fucking sexy.” – Anonymous


Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey & Raj Sisodia (2013)

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