Soulful Enterprise began when Andrew Baughen studied for an MBA at the same time as being the vicar of a church.
I enjoy living at the ‘TheoTech’ intersection of business and ethics. It's a combination that leads me to think ‘yes but …’ Yes, companies need to make money, but what about their motivation to make a difference? Yes, competitive strategy is about creating and capturing value, but how are you defining value and how widely is that value shared? Yes all firms do what is legally required of them, but do they go beyond that?
The ambition of Soulful Enterprise is to help organisations ask 'yes but' and become ‘both and’ enterprises that do both the ethical minimum and the soulful maximum.
My background is strategy consulting in the financial services sector, where I experienced how contrasting corporate cultures shape very different business principles and practices. I then studied theology and have worked for 20 years in inner city London as Vicar of Saint James Clerkenwell and founder of The School of Faith. The distinctive of this project is the intersection of life values and business practices. This combination of what we do and why we do it has been brought into focus by the growing millennial generation and raises some important questions:
• What are we good at and who are we good for?
• Where does this fit with why we got into business in the first place?
• How does this promote our core values as well as increase cash value?
• In gaining the world are we losing our soul?
The Research Project
Soulful Enterprise developed into a three year research project and consulting startup in 2016 with a major grant from The Templeton Religion Trust. The project lead is Andrew Baughen who is an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Management, Cass Business School, City, University of London.
• Identify universal principles of Soulful Enterprise and how they are practised in different business contexts
• Develop business practices and behaviours that build Soulful Enterprise and measure the longterm business impact
• Produce diagnostic tools, workshops, consulting services and publications that help build Soulful Enterprises.
The project will develop a diagnostic tool assesses a firm’s soulful practices and a consulting service that suggests areas where more soulfulness could be developed. It will help soulful enterprises know why they do what they do and like doing more and more of it.
YEAR 1. ARE THERE UNIVERSAL LAWS OF SOULFUL BUSINESS?
Research focus: Irreducible set of principles by which all businesses operate
Data: Interviews, desk research and a symposium in each country
Output: Defined soulful business universals and soulful business catalysts.
YEAR 2. DO SOULFUL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES LEAD TO BENEFICIAL BUSINESS PRACTICES?
Research focus: The core logic and practices that build and destroy soulfulness
Data: Interviews, research on historic and current cases, case study workshops
Output: Defined soulful principles; quantified benefits; case studies.
YEAR 3. WILL SOULFUL BUSINESS PRACTICE MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE TO PEOPLE’S LIVES?
Research focus: Methods of measuring soulfulness and diagnosing pathways to improvement of soulfulness
Data: Workshops and time in firms conducting interviews and collecting raw data
Output: Defined soulful business practices; calibrated measurements of soulfulness; workshop diagnostic tool.