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Radical Profit - Inspiriting Work in Chicago

Some years ago a small group of us started meeting monthly to discuss creativity in our personal and professional lives. It was a diverse group of engaged and engaging people. None of us ever missed a meeting, literally, in two years. We started and stayed very simple in our structure and it really worked.

About the same time, some friends and colleagues in the Seattle area started a process they call [SpiritedWork]. The Seattle experiment has grown into quarterly weekend conferences which regularly attract participants from across the country and often from other countries. Our group considered a similar, expanding approach. We talked about starting projects. We talked about opening invitations. But in the end we didn't find the energy for it, either in ourselves or in our communities here.

Some years later it seems that there may yet be something similar to be sprouted here, with the spirit of the old creativity group mixed with some of the expanding structure of Spirited Work. The Spirited Work format of quarterly open space gatherings seems universally practical, but the name just didn't sound like something we could convene here in Chicago.

Getting Started

In early 2004, the CorporateCompassionInvitation went out, inviting leaders to gather in conversation about CorporateCompassion: "Dissolving Differences and Cultivating Mutuality." We played off of a working definition of compassion: the practice of or decision to let other(s) be as real to us as we are to ourselves. Conveners KarenRadtke?, SheilaMcAnanly? and MichaelHerman told some stories of how we got here, to this question, to this new conversation, to CorporateCompassion. Then they opened the space for others to tell their stories, ask their questions, make their connections.

In the afterglow of the evening, a couple of us started fishing around for what else we might call this thing we'd started. It seemed that this first gathering could be the seed of something, but it also seemed to want a jazzier name. CorporateCompassion was a good start, but it's a mouthful, and a brainful. A bit soft, and too easily brushed off by those susceptible to cynicism.

The phrase that surfaced was RadicalProfit. Radical is the compassion, the reaching out, radiating, radiant, feminine, heart of awareness, healing, wholeness, caring, and embracing... the mystery of our inner selves. To honor this in "normal" business places is indeed a radical act. Profit, of course, is the stuff that keeps those business places going, the bottom line, the action, the masculine, competitive, outer, measurable value and power -- the counting that does still count. Then consider the obvious twist, the Radical Prophet, the sort of individual who would guide and support RadicalProfit. Prophet as awake and conscious leader, Radical as the common, mainstream characterization of his/her actions and results.

Taken together, in mutuality, each side as real to the other as it is to itself -- both of them together yet each still distinct -- RadicalProfit becomes an invitation, a call, to consider, converse, and co-create in the direction of "off-the-charts," or "over-the-top" business results that really do support the whole of life.

As we answer that call, each of us and all of us, RadicalProfit is the embodiment of everything that truly is "out-of-the-box." It's goes way beyond thinking. And still it's just beginning -- a group name and working theme, a whole new territory, all ours to explore and define together. A fitting story for Chicago, historical home to social justice, urban planning, and labor movements on the one hand and retailing giants, gleaming office towers, and global financial markets on the other.

It's rough and new -- a bit "drafty," you might say. But it's here -- available and growing -- which is just what we want CorporateCompassion to be. mailto:mherman@globalchicago.net to join us or have a look at RadicalProfitQuarterly.

Developing Stories


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Last edited October 16, 2017 4:59 pm CentralTimeUSA by MichaelHerman
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© 1998-2017 Michael Herman and www.michaelherman.com, unless signed by another author or organization. Please do not reprint or distribute for commercial purposes without permission and full attribution, including web address and this copyright notice. Permission has always been granted gladly to those who contact me and say something about themselves, their work, and their use of these materials. Thank you and good luck! - Michael