Manuela Forster at Machu Picchu

What I’ve learned from the Incas: Insights for Modern Business Leaders 

by | 13. Dec 2023 | Leadership, Sustainability

Embracing Pachamama: Lessons from Inca Leaders for Sustainable Business Practices

During my recent visit to Machu Picchu and Cusco in Peru, I was struck by the profound wisdom and practices of the Inca civilization. Their deep connection with Pachamama, Mother Earth and their ingenious architectural and agricultural accomplishments offer invaluable lessons for today’s business leaders, especially in our quest for sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change. And yes, it’s not really new, but the question is, looking at the COP28, why are we still ignoring it ?

1. Living in Harmony with Nature: A Key to Abundance

The Incas demonstrated an exceptional understanding of their environment, cultivating a life of abundance. They achieved this through a harmonious balance with nature, aligning their agricultural practices with the rhythms of the earth and cosmos and excelled in sustainable agricultural practices, notably terraced farming, which allowed cultivation on steep mountain slopes. These terraces prevented soil erosion and retained moisture, crucial in the Andean region. They also practiced seed selection, soil selection, crop rotation and used natural fertilizers like guano (bird droppings), which are relevant lessons for today’s sustainable food systems​​. This ancient wisdom underscores the importance of respecting and working with our natural resources, rather than exploiting them, a crucial lesson for modern businesses facing ecological challenges.

2. Astronomy and Spirituality: Foundations for Prosperity

Astronomy wasn’t just a science for the Incas; it was a spiritual guide. Their keen observations of the sun, moon and stars informed their agricultural calendar, ensuring efficient planting and harvesting. This spiritual engagement with celestial bodies highlights the significance of understanding and respecting natural cycles in business operations, especially in sectors like agriculture and renewable energy. And speaking about energy, it is clear that the spiritual life with rituals and ceremonial festivities including sound, was raising the frequency and supported a higher consciousness level in the community. 

3. Genius in Architecture: Sustainable Practices from the Past

The Incas were renowned for their architectural feats, including Machu Picchu and the Temple of the Sun. Inca architecture, exemplified by the precisely shaped stones of their structures, which required no binding material, stands as a testament to sustainable construction. Their buildings combined grandeur with functionality, using advanced engineering techniques for structures that withstood natural disasters. Their terraced farming on steep Andean slopes demonstrates innovative land use that maximize yield while preserving the environment. They prioritized local materials and environmental conditions​​. These practices remind us that sustainability and efficiency can go hand in hand, inspiring contemporary architects and urban planners to incorporate these time-tested techniques.

4. Robust Infrastructure: Lessons in Resilience

The Incas built an empire connected by an extensive network of roads and bridges, showcasing their commitment to robust infrastructure. This approach ensured stable food storage and distribution, even in challenging terrains. They also found strategic control of the production and distribution of agricultural products and had control of the maximum ecological zones. The agricultural production was targeted to feed the population. Modern businesses can learn from this by investing in resilient infrastructures that can withstand environmental and economic fluctuations. 

5. Embracing the Whole: A Holistic Approach to Business

The Inca civilization teaches us the importance of a holistic approach. They understood that the well-being of their community was intimately connected to the health of the environment. The Incas practiced herbal medicine with a deep understanding of plant healing properties. They treated various physical and mental ailments with herbs, roots, and natural substances, integrating these treatments with spiritual practices. Their holistic approach to health, recognizing the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, offers insights into sustainable healthcare practices​​. This perspective encourages modern leaders to adopt a more comprehensive view of success, one that includes environmental stewardship and social responsibility.


These aspects demonstrate the Inca civilization’s profound understanding of sustainability, community, and holistic practices. Their profound connection with Pachamama, innovative agricultural practices, sustainable architecture and holistic worldview offer practical and spiritual guidance for today’s business leaders. By learning from these ancient masters, we can forge a path that not only ensures our survival but also honors our beautiful planet earth and its resources and let us create a better world. How can we actually apply this ancient wisdom and strategies?

Applying Inca Wisdom to Modern Business: Strategies for Resilience and Sustainability

Here are practical tips for integrating these practices into modern business strategies:

1. Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship:

  • Innovative Land Use: Emulate terraced farming by maximizing space in urban settings through vertical gardens and rooftop farming.
  • Natural Resources Management: Implement crop rotation and natural fertilization techniques in agricultural ventures to enhance soil health and reduce chemical use.
  • Climate-Adaptive Strategies: Develop products and services that are adaptable to changing environmental conditions, mirroring the Inca’s resilience to diverse Andean climates.

2. Community and Interdependence:

  • Foster Team Cohesion: Create ‘ayllu’-like team structures in the workplace to encourage collective responsibility and resource sharing.
  • Conflict Resolution: Adopt the Tinkuy approach in corporate environments, emphasizing mediation and mutual understanding to resolve disputes.
  • Community Engagement: Initiate community-driven projects and partnerships that mirror the Inca’s emphasis on collective well-being and social support.

3. Sustainable Architecture and Infrastructure:

  • Eco-Friendly Design: Incorporate local, sustainable materials in construction, following Inca practices of using locally sourced stones.
  • Resilient Infrastructure: Invest in building designs that are durable and adaptable to natural calamities, drawing inspiration from Inca engineering.
  • Functional Aesthetics: Design workspaces that are not only environmentally friendly but also enhance the well-being and productivity of employees.

4. Holistic Health and Wellness:

  • Integrate Natural Remedies: Encourage the use of herbal and plant-based remedies in corporate wellness programs.
  • Promote Holistic Well-being: Develop initiatives that address the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of employees, like meditation, yoga, and wellness workshops.
  • Spiritual Awareness: As spirituality is in our human nature and more and more people want to experience this, advocate for practices like energy healing, use of healing stones, and sound therapy to elevate consciousness and promote overall health.

Implementing Inca Wisdom in Business Strategies:

  • Soul Healing and Energy Work: Encourage leaders and employees to engage in soul healing practices and energy work to enhance their consciousness and well-being.
  • Elevated Consciousness in Decision-Making: Incorporate elevated consciousness approaches in business decision-making, ensuring that choices are not only profitable but also ethically sound and environmentally sustainable.
  • Sustainable Business Models: Develop business models that are sustainable and regenerative, ensuring that they contribute positively to the environment and society.

By integrating these ancient practices with modern business strategies, leaders can create enterprises that are not only successful but also contribute to the health and well-being of society and the planet. This approach aligns with the principles of Pachamama, fostering a deeper connection with nature and promoting a more sustainable and harmonious world.

Share this post!

You may also like:

Consent Management Platform by Real Cookie Banner