Business and Poetry – David Whyte

Loaves and Fishes – David Whyte (a.k.a. the business poet)

This is not the age of information.
This is not the age of information.
Forget the news,and the radio,and the blurred screen.
This is the time of loaves and fishes.
People are hungry and one good word
is bread for a thousand.

– David Whyte from The House of Belonging ©1996 Many Rivers Press

David Whyte‘s poety says more about business and leadership than nine out of ten management consultants and made up statistics. This is from his poetry website:

David Whyte has been bringing his unique blend of poetry and insight into the world of business for more than twenty years. His work in organizations around the world takes many different forms, from formal dinner talks and conference keynotes, to retreats and seminars. He has an especial affection for his long term work inside specific organizations, often over years, building a critical mass of executives and leaders who have learned through his work, the language, metaphors and urgent necessities of conversational leadership. His sessions have been woven into long term executive leadership programs with organizations such as Mattel, Standard Chartered Bank, The Gap, The Boeing Company, Thames water, Novartis, Astrazenica, RWE and the Royal Air Force. He is a faculty member of Templeton College, Oxford University, where he is an Associate Fellow.

His collaborations include work with Richard Olivier, using Shakespeare’s plays, especially Hamlet, as a template for the exploration of some of the difficult dynamics of contemporary leadership. His work has been featured in Leader to Leader, Fast Company, and The Harvard Business Review.

Poetry, Work & Vocation

Work is a very serious matter indeed. We freight our work with meaning and identity, and fight hard and long for some kind of purpose in our endeavors. Vocation can never be defined solely by the organization for which we currently work, though it should be the beneficiary of our best powers. Vocation is a moveable, often unspeakable frontier, between what we want for ourselves and what the world demands of us. It is this interior foundation married to the necessities of the outer world that make up a life’s work. Organizations need to understand this wellspring of human creativity in order to shape conversations that are invitational to an individual’s greater powers. The insights available to us through good poetry can provide a compelling vision, grant needed courage and stir the dormant imagination of individuals and organizations alike.

Conversational Leadership

Over twenty years David Whyte has developed a body of work and a series of seminars focused on the conversational nature of leadership in today’s world. He notes especially that most executives are promoted out of their original core technical competency and into the field of key human relationships, relationships that are mostly sustained through holding necessary and courageous conversations.


Business So What: Business is and needs poetry