Trivial business v. Devotional business

Eating a meal can be done in two ways:

Getting as many calories in your body in the least time possible.


Consciously prepare a meal, savour the flavours of food, appreciate the nourishment that food provides, and recognise the ritual value that eating a meal offers.

It’s the same set of actions (same person, same food, same context) but the one approach feels entirely different from the other. 

The former is ‘trivial; the latter is ‘devotional’.

This is what I’ve noticed about devotional acts:

  • Devotional is intelligent
  • Devotional is thoughtful
  • Devotional is effective
  • Devotional requires no additional time
  • Devotional is energy-additive, not energy-subtractive
  • Devotional is rewarding
  • Devotional has depth
  • Devotional is compelling

I share this explicitly because the risk when discussing nuanced topics like devotional is that they are dismissed as being soft, ethereal or strange. None of which is true. Devotional acts have been around far longer than most people realise and have been woven into the fabric of our culture for millennia. Go back a thousand years and the notion of not being devotional would attract similar scepticism. 

This begs the question: if this simple, functional act of eating a meal can be so vastly enhanced by doing it in a devotional way, can the same be done in business?

Yes it can.

Let’s take Strategy:

The Trivial version:

Find a way to make more money by cutting corners, taking chances, and ignoring impacted parties, with no depth or meaning involved.

The Devotional version:

Solving the riddle of business performance with purposefulness and meaning, cracking Strategy from a place of curiosity and intrigue, deeply interrogating a business’s true place in the world, and acknowledging the privilege of having agency in shaping your businesses’ future.

The devotional approach will produce a business direction that is dense, accurate and honoured. 

The trivial approach will produce a hollow, meaningless outcome that lacks insight and will likely not be effective.

Being open to exploring devotional business practices requires a leap – I get that. Both the concept and the language might feel quite ‘out there’. But this is the portal through which businesses can be better understood and better built. 

Go through this portal and you’ll find a raft of new dimensions and options that provide CEOs with new forms of leverage and performance. The courageous early adopters are already in this territory and doing remarkable things so these are not unchartered waters. This new ‘field’ of business is already in play and there for the taking.

In a time where old business practices of the past are losing steam rapidly, these and other pioneering ideas like them are worth considering. 

This is the new frontier of business performance.

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