Chief spiritual officer could save you money
A chief spiritual officer, an empath, or a professional intuitive might not be top of the “must-have” list for a business person, but perhaps they should be.
David Sauvage gave a sense of the value they can bring to a business enterprise during a visit to the island.
He provides intuitive consulting and coaching, and has been featured in a number of publications, including an article on empaths in the UK’s Guardian newspaper in June.
Mr Sauvage was a guest at the Hub Culture Innovation Campus and Beach Club, at Ariel Sands, during a themed week on spiritual transformation at the summer-long networking event.
He described how one of his interactions correctly identified an issue in a private-equity business deal, with the outcome a $20 million difference.
And he explained that executives facing a costly lawsuit could potentially save tens of millions of dollars in settlement payout if they understand the psychology of the other person who might simply be seeking an apology.
An empath, or professional intuitive, is said to have the ability to tap into the feelings and thoughts of others, helping to guide them and give insights into what they are feeling or a problem they face.
Mr Sauvage branched into intuitive consulting fairly recently, however his ability as an empath stretches back to his childhood.
He has talents in other areas. He has written, directed and produced a number of short films, including Carissa, which was shown at the 2008 Bermuda International Film Festival. Attending that festival was his first visit to the island. This is his second.
Regarding his first, he said: “It was great, I loved it and met a lot of good people. My film premiered here. And here I am, launching again in a sense.”
As a professional intuitive he has consulted with small businesses, venture capitalists and private-equity enterprises.
“I went to business school and have an understanding of the rudiments of business,” Mr Sauvage said.
He said his business-minded friends would call him when they needed help, such as in a negotiation or with an interpersonal issue.
They would ask things, such as: “What do I do about this investor? I feel good about this company, but there is something that does not feel right.”
Mr Sauvage said: “Any time there was something to do with feelings and business, people would think of me.”
Giving an example of how an empath can help businesses, he spoke about negotiations.
“Business people tend to assume, wrongly, that people are operating rationally. Sometimes people act in ways that are motivated by their feelings, not by their rational self-interest.
“So when feelings are involved in any kind of a deal it is often a blind spot for business people.”
One of his friends, who works in private equity, sought out his assistance during negotiations for the sale of a company. The sole potential buyer was showing a strong interest and undertaking deep due diligence, but then “disappearing” for a month or two.
“My friend could not figure out what to do and he was contemplating a fire sale and giving it to this guy because he needed out. It was definitely in the buyer’s interest to buy the company, and in my friend’s interest to sell the company,” said Mr Sauvage.
“So he called me and I took a look at the buyer, literally a picture of this guy, and tuned into him and knew exactly what was going on — that this buyer was a shark and that he was feigning disinterest in order to get the price down. My friend was going to fall into that trap.
“That was my intuition around that person’s psychology. It was like having another voice in the boardroom with this special area of expertise that nobody else had.”
While that reading of the situation was not enough to base the whole decision on, it “coloured everything”, according to Mr Sauvage.
“It turned out in this case to be correct and useful. So that was a $20 million difference on that deal.”
There has been a significant level of merger and acquisition activity in Bermuda’s insurance and reinsurance sector in recent years. This is another area where Mr Sauvage believes a professional intuitive can prove useful.
“Where you are going to put this team and that team together and hope that it clicks, I can help you sort through how that will click,” he said.
“Any time you are making a big transaction that will require multiple interactions after the fact, or years of interaction, it is good to line up psychology. What’s going on with us? What’s going on with them? How is this going to flow?”
Mr Sauvage said his favourite type of consulting in the business environment was helping people figure out investments involving people.
“They know how to evaluate strategy and market share. They have someone in the room who is a master of financials. If there are any legal risks they have someone in the room who is an expert at the legal side. Technology? They have someone who is an expert at technology.
“But there is no one in the room who is an expert on human beings. Which is ludicrous. They are going to take these huge bets and put them on people and they have not even consciously thought ‘what’s up with that person?’
“The best VCs and investors do think of that, but they don’t have someone at the table whose purpose is to think that way. So I see a role to play in that.”
Mr Sauvage is not alone in his belief that things are changing and more attention is being paid to the more spiritual side of business.
Indeed, the job title of chief spiritual officer has appeared at a number of organisations. For instance, Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager, is CSO of Ken Blanchard Companies.
Mr Sauvage said there is now more meditation and yoga being integrated into business, and more focus on conscious capital or “doing well by doing well”.
He added: “All these things are steps in the right direction.
“Are there going to be seats at the table for people like me who are chief spiritual officers? Maybe. Should there be? Sure.”
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