Tami Simon on Integral Naked - The "Twenty Tenets" of Sounds True
July 14, 2008 12:04
Enlightened Business Practices. Part 2. The "Twenty Tenets" of Sounds True.
Written by Corey W. deVos
In this discussion, Ken and Tami take a closer look at the core values that have been foundational to the growth of Sounds True throughout the years. Tami shares the origins and intentions behind each of these guiding principles, as well as some of the complications that can arise while implementing them in the organization from day to day.
"What I will always say to people is that we have to be somewhat profitable, but how profitable we are is actually negotiable, as long as we can keep the doors open. But the mission is not negotiable at all." -Tami Simon
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Who: Tami Simon is the founder and president of Sounds True, a multimedia publisher dedicated to "the dissemination of spiritual wisdom" and North America's leading publisher of spoken-word spiritual teachings.
Summary: In this discussion, Ken and Tami take a closer look at the core values that have been foundational to the growth of Sounds True throughout the years. Tami shares the origins and intentions behind each of these guiding principles, as well as some of the complications that can arise while implementing them in the organization from day to day. Tami's extraordinary skill as a leader becomes apparent in the course of this dialogue, as does her limitless compassion, will, and integrity—most notably through her success in catalyzing these vales and actually allowing them to shape and infuse the atmosphere of the workplace, rather than becoming a mere list of idioms to hang idly upon the conference room wall.
The "Twenty Tenets" of Sounds True:
1. We aspire to be both mission driven as well as profit driven
1a. This has since expanded to the "multiple bottom-lines" of purpose, profit, people, and planet
2. We aspire to build workplace community
3. We encourage authenticity in the workplace
4. We aspire to have open communication, company-wide
5. Animals are welcome!
6. We encourage creativity, innovation, and new ideas
7. We strive to be flexible about work schedules
8. We encourage individual teams to determine the best ways to reach their goals
9. We aspire to honor and include a contemplative dimension in the workplace
10. We aspire to reach out to a diverse community
11. We aspire to protect and preserve the earth
12. We aspire to have a relationship with our customers that is based on integrity
13. We aspire to take time for kindness, have fun, and get a lot done
14. We aspire to acknowledge that every person in the organization carries wisdom
15. We encourage people to speak up and propose solutions
16. We encourage people to listen deeply
17. We aspire to honor individual differences and diversity
18. We strive for clarity of expectations
19. Employees participate in profit-sharing and ownership of the organization
What is perhaps most remarkable about these principles is not simply the freedom and flexibility they offer to Sounds True employees—which, taken alone, would most likely fit just about anyone's definitions of a "dream job"—but how they are designed to fully honor and actualize the potential of employees, which in turn helps to stimulate and rally the cultural morale of the workplace. Of course, these sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings would be hardly worthwhile (and utterly unsustainable) if they didn't translate to the genuine growth and profitability of the organization—which, when combined with the right sorts of accountabilities, expectations, and incentives, they absolutely can! After all (to expand upon a statement from the first part of this discussion), a happy employee—who is simultaneously an empowered employee, an accountable employee, and a proud employee—is most likely going to be an exceptionally productive employee.
This dialogue offers a fascinating exploration of the inner-workings of Sounds True, an insightful case-study of one of the world's first businesses to orient around explicitly Integral principles. Many have made the observation that the Integral altitude is now rapidly emerging as a powerful cultural force in the world, in much the same way that the "green" altitude of pluralism and postmodernism began to surface in mainstream consciousness in the late fifties and early sixties. As this new Integral population continues to emerge and organize itself into viable spiritual, political, economic, and ecological force, it will surely look to the incredible successes of Sounds True and the leadership of Tami Simon as cherished role-models, genuine beacons of enlightened business, laying the ground for an entirely new vanguard of Integral organizations to come.