Putting Humanity Back in the Human Enterprise

April 2, 2024

Building organizational cultures of compassion, connection, and meaning

According to the Deloitte 2024 Global Human Capital Trends Report, organizations are at a watershed moment. “Many organizations have transitioned from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy and now to an economy that is powered by the hearts, minds, and essential human traits of people — in short, our humanity. Yet current efforts to prioritize these all-important connections are generally falling short, in part because many organizations are stuck in a legacy mindset that centers on extracting value from people rather than working with them to create a better future for organizations and individuals alike. For true sustainability, organizations need to create value for all people connected to them. It’s not just a nice idea — it’s central to better outcomes for organizations and humanity.”

Addressing Challenges

In our recovering post-pandemic world, organizations face an expanding landscape of disruption — from climate change and political turbulence to inequality and poverty. These are tough problems that need complex responses involving leaders from all sectors of society.

“Every day, organizations around the world set out to do good work — solving complex problems, addressing seemingly intractable issues, generating relational, social, and financial wealth, and finding new ways to create a better world for their communities,” says Monica Worline, faculty director, Michigan Ross Center for Positive Organizations. “And every day, whatever comes, organizations around the world do their important work in the face of disruption, distress, turmoil, and turbulence.”

2024 Positive Business Conference Amplified

If you’re a leader who focuses on the larger questions of sustainability in enterprises, you won’t want to miss the Positive Business Conference Amplified, scheduled for May 9, 2024. Hosted by the Michigan Ross Center for Positive Organizations, the conference offers parallel in-person and online options, bringing together thought leaders and industry experts who will share real-world examples, evidence-based tools, and cutting-edge innovation for creating a work culture that prioritizes the needs and challenges of its people. The time has never been better for business leaders — from mid-level managers to CEOs — to reimagine organizational strategies, systems, and practices that will bolster the human in global human enterprise.

“Business leaders will have the opportunity to gain insights from thought leaders, industry luminaries, and changemakers, all dedicated to the potential of positive business.” – Gretchen Spreitzer, Associate Dean for Executive and Corporate Relations, Michigan Ross; CPO Faculty Advisory Board
Exploration and Conversation

Among the experts who will grace this year’s main stage is Susan Cain, author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and BITTERSWEET: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. In a conversation with Cain, Jane Dutton, Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Business Administration and Psychology, will lead an intriguing exploration of how the bitter is a necessary and essential part of life, and why bittersweetness may be the perfect space for thriving in human enterprise.

It is the humans in organizations that continue to drive everything from revenue, innovation, productivity, quality, and brand relevance. Collectively, they are the depth and breadth of an enterprise. Given this value proposition, there is a need for broader understanding of human nature as part of leading an organization. Human beings are both light and dark and sweet and bitter, and when faced with challenges respond in different ways.

Also on the main stage is Marcus Collins, an award-winning marketer and cultural translator with one foot in the world of practice — formerly serving as head of strategy at Wieden+Kennedy, New York — and one foot in the world of academia as a marketing professor at Michigan Ross. His deep understanding of brand strategy and consumer behavior has helped him bridge the academic-practitioner gap for blue-chip brands and startups alike. In his presentation, Collins will talk about how to both understand and shape the cultures that are needed in today’s business environment.

Expanding the Business Imperative

“Companies have the opportunity to prioritize cultures of empathy, compassion, engagement, and trust as they renew their commitments to inclusion and belonging. The work of honoring full humanity as part of the new business imperative demands that we adopt a richer view of what is human, leading in ways that allow for both pain and compassion and anxiety and creativity,” says Worline, who will host an onstage conversation with thought leaders about what it means to amplify a human-centered approach to global enterprise.

This year’s conference is sure to be inspiring, energizing, and motivating. “Business leaders will have the opportunity to gain insights from thought leaders, industry luminaries, and changemakers, all dedicated to the potential of positive business,” says Gretchen Spreitzer, associate dean for executive and corporate relations, Michigan Ross, who will lead an onstage conversation about the need for community generating, tending, and regenerating at the heart of amplifying the human in human enterprise.

Finding Uplift Amid Upheaval

Despite myriad challenges and uncertainty in the current global environment, organizations have the power to change the culture of their workplace for the better. “We dedicate our time together at this year’s gathering to explore how different modes of doing, learning, and creating together, such as artmaking and storymaking, can inform leaders about how they can live and work more effectively and purposefully in this time of grief and gratitude, and upheaval and uplift,” notes Worline.

View all 2024 Positive Business Conference Amplified Speakers & Leaders.

Attendance is limited to ensure high-quality experiences for all, so quick registration is recommended. Group attendance is encouraged to experience the most content and to help enact positive initiatives coming away from the conference. Whether you prefer the energy of an in-person event or the flexibility of an online conference, there are compelling reasons to be part of this inspiring gathering.

View the full in-person conference schedule.
View the full online conference schedule.

Who Should Attend the Positive Business Conference Amplified?

While everyone is welcome, the majority of past attendees have been:

  • Mid-level managers to CEOs
  • HR professionals
  • Entrepreneurs and business owners
  • Consultants and coaches
  • Academics and students
In-Person and Online Options

The Positive Business Conference Amplified offers a full day of immersive experiential learning and exploration both in person and online:

IN PERSON: The conference takes place at Michigan Ross located at 701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109. Main sessions are held in Robertson Auditorium, on the ground floor. Workshops and activities will take place in classrooms throughout the building.

ONLINE: Content of the Positive Business Conference Amplified offers a fully interactive, professionally produced event portal that will feature exclusive online content, interactive workshops, and full networking, video, audio, and text interaction. This is not a pale Zoom shadow of a conference experience.

About the Center for Positive Organizations

Today, as the world prepares for the future, the University of Michigan Center for Positive Organizations is reaching new heights as the preeminent home for the science and practice of thriving organizations. Housed in Michigan Ross, University of Michigan, the center is actively and passionately helping to prepare the organizations of today, create the leaders of tomorrow, and build a sustainable future for all.