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What’s In A Name? New Titles Emerging In Business

I’ve always been curious about language. To me, our words reflect something more profound about our motivations, intentions, and beliefs. Blog 151 PicSo over the past few decades it has been fascinating to track an emerging lexicon in business, one that—at the very least—speaks to a growing desire to design company models for the upliftment of people and wellbeing of the planet. Unlike a few years ago, today it is common to marry “conscious,” “restorative,” and “compassionate” with the word “capitalism,” and “regenerative” and “wisdom” while discussing the “economy.”

Even more intriguing are the leadership titles now appearing. I can remember when Chief Learning Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Chief People Officer would have been unheard of; nowadays these titles are routine. And lately, Chief Wellness Officer has come to the forefront, along with Chief Happiness Officer and Chief Wisdom Officer. (All three sound like life-enhancing jobs!)

I recently interviewed a Chief Mindfulness Officer (you’ll read more about him and this fascinating new role in an upcoming blog), and I hear the title Chief Ecosystem Officer is on the rise. Plus, in her new book New Economy Business, sustainability thought-leader Marga Hoek suggests transforming Chief Financial Officer into Chief Value Officer, a role to ensure organizations create and report integrated strategies for producing human, environmental, and financial value.

As the Buffalo Springfield song says:

There’s something happening here,

What it is ain’t exactly clear…

Whether or not these new titles will have real cache in our world remains to be seen. Personally, I’m more interested in what’s underneath: What deeper shift in values and beliefs do these emerging titles represent?

I believe they reveal our collective readiness for a different way of leading, where business has a core drive to be a force for good and the focus shifts from managing resources to uplifting people and whole systems, from scarcity to abundance, and from short-term profit to purposeful, sustainable impact. What’s your opinion?

Want to learn more? Contact me at renee@wisdom-works.com.


Photo Credit: Shutterstock #107342498