97: Conscious Business, Superconscious Capitalism, and The Meaning Revolution with Fred Kofman: a Teacher Who Changed My Life Without Knowing It

Although it wouldn't be like him to take much (if any) credit, Fred Kofman changed the trajectory of my life. This week I got the privilege of thanking him, live on the Pivot Podcast. 

A little backstory: In 2006, while working at Google on the training team under Sheryl Sandberg’s Online Sales & Operations organization, I was fortunate to participate in a three-day immersion called Conscious Business, based on a book by visionary leader, teacher, and thinker Fred Kofman.

Just 23 years old at the time, it opened my eyes to powerful principles like taking full responsibility (player versus victim), making and keeping impeccable commitments, integrity in action, success beyond success, and much more. Two small examples: I stopped saying the phrase, “I’ll try” — replacing it instead with what I will (or will not) do and by when — and I aim for total truth in my speech, over even small white lies, such as saying I’m not feeling well as a reason to back out on plans if that’s not true.  

As part of the program, I also had three coaching sessions that led to my biggest contributions at Google and everything I’m doing now. Because of those sessions, I connected with my mission to help others, completed CTI’s coach training and certification, co-created Google’s global Career Guru program to help launch these meaningful conversations for others, started the Life After College blog that became my first book in 2011, then left to pursue my own business, write Pivot . . . and the rest is history—or at least readily available on previous Pivot Podcasts 😃 

And this week, nearly twelve years later, I got to connect with Fred to interview him about his new book, The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership, diving into his thoughts around “superconscious capitalism” — how business is enhanced through spirituality, meaning, and love — and how he decided to make his own pivots from Axialent to LinkedIn and now Google as a leadership development advisor.

Most importantly, to Fred: thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for who you are, all that you stand for, and the many fires you light within others. 

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/meaning-revolution. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 and episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

More About Fred Kofman


Fred Kofman is an advisor in leadership development at Google, where he works with top CEOs and executives around the world. An economist trained at UC Berkeley, he taught finance at MIT before founding his global consulting company, Axialent, which has taught its program to more than 15,000 executives.

During that time he wrote Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values. As Sheryl Sandberg writes in Lean In, Kofman “will transform the way you live and work.” His new book, hot off the press, is called The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership.  

Topics We Cover

  • Fred's perspective that business can and should be seen as a spiritual endeavor

  • Defining Transcendent Leadership, how it relates to “authentic, soul-satisfying happiness”?

  • “Leadership is about getting what can’t be taken, and deserving what is freely given. Some managers think they can coax extraordinary efforts through carrots and sticks. But this is ludicrous. Imagine a thief pointing a gun at you and commanding, 'Give me your respect! Your support! Your friendship!'"

  • Why most employee engagement programs don’t work - the marriage proposal analogy

  • Must have a desire to achieve the goal without committing to the practice; you have to fall in love with the process, "outcomes are cheap"

  • Die before you die: on connecting company mission to individuals’ symbolic immortality projects

  • Describe the company mission in a way that would make your children proud if they told their friends at school

  • Love infused into what we produce; Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s quote that “Every book has a soul” — and how that relates to business

  • Interest in shamanic journeys, how he overcame his hesitancy around sharing his psychedelic experiences in a business book

  • Superconscious capitalism; we must return to the market with helping hands

  • Agape - charitable love, brotherly love, from the Greek translation of the Bible - commit to support even your enemies’ evolution

  • Making the decision to pivot from his company, Axialent, to LinkedIn in 2013 and now to Google (just within the last month, in fact!)

  • Knowing when to pivot: the truth of the relationship to LinkedIn shifted—and they all remain great friends

  • His mission: to help people remember their true nature, rediscover who they are

  • Fluid planning (a man after my own Pivot heart!): the only thing you need is a next step

Conscious Business and The Meaning Revolution with Fred Kofman

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