Corporate Management - TEN SUTRAS FOR CORPORATE SUCCESS
by Anil Bhatnagar
"Most commercial corporations are underachievers. They develop and exploit only a small
fraction of their potential and have a high mortality rate. By 1983, one-third
of the 1970 Fortune 500 companies had broken or merged with bigger companies,"
writes Arie de Geus in The Living Company. Can any enterprise be successful
unless it pays heed to a new and radical paradigm shift that beckons to move our
focus from "things" to "thoughts"?
Modern thinkers and scientists are now convinced that the world is not made up of things, but of consciousness or an energy field that is experiencing itself. The shift has been from man seeing the world as an ocean of matter to be exploited for improving the quality of his material existence to seeing it as an ocean of intelligent energy of which he too is only a part.
The last millennium searched and found material laws that governed the material world. The new millennium will have to search and find spiritual laws that govern this energy field. This altered perception brings about a fundamental change in the ways we live and work. Many, conditioned by old ways of thinking, dismiss such talk or struggle with feelings of doubt, ridicule, resistance and apathy before finally accepting it. Some timeless principles highlighted by New Age leaders underlie this paradigm shift and can be applied for building successful business organizations.
UNDERSTAND YOUR PLACE IN THE BIG PLAN
The universe is one big jigsaw puzzle and each business organization and individual has a unique slot in it. The goals of an organization and its departments may keep changing with time. It is the responsibility of the leader to ensure that employees identify with the renewed focus with commitment. Each person should be fitted into the right slot in relation to the organizational plan while fulfilling his own role in harmony with the Big Plan.
People are born with talents and skills which need to be discovered, honed and put to use for achieving the purpose they are born for. Irrespective of individual skills and talents, people are often forced into work areas they have little or no interest in. No wonder they feel bored and tired with the job and cheerless about life.
What can such a person offer an organization? When one's work is not what one has been sent on this earth for, in harmony with Nature's plans, both individuals and organizations have to pay the price. De-motivated individuals may forfeit peace, harmony, growth and health, while employers may fail to justify their very presence in the organization. Every organization should realize that intent and natural talent are assets more important than specialization or technical qualification on its own.
A person with a burning desire to learn more about a subject or to give his best can do wonders irrespective of his background. Give people the work they are meant for and see how their motivation level goes up and the medical expenses and man hours lost due to illnesses come down. Barbara Brennan mentions in her seminal book Hands of Light that the health of the back of the throat is directly related to the level of satisfaction the person derives from his job. No wonder throat and throat chakra related diseases are so common among executives today.
PRACTICE THE ECONOMICS OF ABUNDANCE
In a perfect scenario everything is available in abundance to meet one's needs. In any real life situation, however, this is not true as people's acquisitive tendencies are driven by reasons other than genuine needs. In organizations, facilities like mobile telephones and computers are often appropriated by a few powerful people who may not use them at all but keep them only as status symbols, thus denying their use to people who genuinely need them. They mentally tend to own things and attach a lot of value to them as if they are the very indices of their success.
Mahatma Gandhi used to say that there is enough for human needs but very little for human greed. The first verse of Isha Upanishad, too, says: All that we see around us belongs to God and has been given to us only for Our use. Hence we should not hoard things unnecessarily. People who are spiritual do not feel empty within and hence do not, like others, need material possessions to fill this emptiness.
Many problems crop up in an organization because people operate from a scarcity consciousness. They feel that there is too little of everything: opportunities, promotions, resources, time and money. As everyone tends to hoard things, the system becomes far from perfect and abundant, and actually results in a scarcity of things. Organizations, having a culture where people circulate rather than keep things they do not need, provide an environment of abundance; people always have what they need at the right time and place.
BE ROOTED IN THE REALITY OF 'ONENESS'
Every organization should function cohesively. It is important that organizations and individuals ensure right from the recruitment stage that they need each other and share common values, concerns, visions, challenges, goals and dreams so that both could work together towards fulfillment of these. What we need is a bird's eye-view of the organization's role in the Big Plan and then a microscopic view of the inner details.
In a cohesive organization, though the individual focuses his attention on the work assigned to him, he always keeps the larger vision and goals of the organization in mind. An employee's response to the customer, whether internal or external, must always come from the vantage point of the organization.
A response such as: "This is not my area of work. Find out from the person concerned" shows that the individual is responding from his own frame of reference, an attitude detrimental for both employee and organization. So long as every employee is working like an individual cell for and with every other cell of the body like one team, he is helping the 'whole' become healthier and prosperous, which in turn shall make him healthier and prosperous too.
The more the employees work from the perspective of "It is not I but the Unmanifest working through me", the more they accomplish. At the same time, arrogance and meaningless ego-battles progressively diminish. Their tendency to project themselves drops away as they begin to realize that they are part of the Big Plan.
It is He working through them—not they. James Redfield writes in The Celestine Prophecy that we argue and contradict others because, oblivious of the real source of energy , the Unmanifest, we try to steal and suck energy from each other through these petty and small 'victories'. A person who sees and feels the logic of oneness appreciates the fact that when his viewpoint is not accepted he is not defeated.
USE THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
People and organizations think and feel low not because of the dismal circumstances they are in; they are in dismal circumstances because they think and feel low. The most powerful but least understood tool we possess is positive thinking. Thoughts have the power to materialize themselves. Positive thoughts can make a sick person recuperate faster and regain health—as shown by Dr Carl Simonton's success in the USA in curing cancer patients by the sheer power of positive visualizations.
Thoughts can cure sick organizations surely as they can cure sick persons, for organizations are 'driven' by persons—efficiently or disastrously, depending on their approach. Ask yourself: "Is my organization problem-oriented or solution-oriented? Do people have a problem with every solution or they have solutions for every problem? Do people catch others doing wrong or do they prefer to catch them doing something right?"
The attitude of the people in an organization decides the speed, quality and direction they give to the company. Everyone encounters negative responses at work and feels bad about them. Remember that whatever you resist or try to control with negative responses gets stronger. Moreover, when we are 'one' who do we need to fight against? So don't work against anything.
For example, don't fight against violence. Work for peace instead. Positive thinking does not mean complacence or inaction. You cannot expect to drive a car well if you really have not learnt to do so. But your positive thoughts make you give all that is required to do so, instill in you a positive image about your capabilities and make you perform in consonance with your image.
Initially, however, you may reason out all possible reasons for failure or consider the worst possible scenario, so that you can incorporate necessary precautions in your planning. This is not negative thinking. It is only a part of good preparation. Positive thoughts and affirmations should intersperse your activities every day. Affirmations can be slipped under the tables, fixed in rooms, canteens, laboratories, notice boards, conference halls, toilets. A favorite affirmation of mine reads: "I enjoy the skills and talents God has given me and I get sufficient time and opportunities to excel in each one while serving mankind through my work in the organization."
LET THE UNMANIFEST WORK FOR YOU
Just as the whole banyan tree unfolds from the tiny seed, the world comes into being from the Unmanifest. Individuals and organizations must realize that money, material benefits and all that makes Man happy flows only from the Unmanifest and hence they should not sacrifice their link with the latter for the sake of the former.
Abundance, the very nature of the Unmanifest, shall enter and continue to pervade the lives of people and organizations provided they work in the interest of the common good and in harmony with the Unmanifest. In 1982, Johnson & Johnson took upon itself losses worth $100 million, incurred on widespread lab tests and a nationwide recall of their Tylenol capsules, fearing that they were spiked with poison.
Despite almost immediate vindication of the company and convincing evidence that the tampering had taken place in just a few stores of Chicago, the company withdrew every capsule from the market feeling responsible towards the people, and in harmony with its role in the Big Plan. The capsule was later released in triple-sealed safety packaging after the company was convinced that there was no risk to any Tylenol user. The company not only regained its market share but also earned new and loyal customers.
RECOGNIZE AND TRUST CHANGE
Individuals and organizations should not doubt or resist the inevitable changes encountered while they are working for the Big Plan. Many organizations at some juncture feel that they cannot afford to go on paying their workers because of the adverse market conditions. Driven by their scarcity consciousness they start driving people out of jobs.
An organization with abundance consciousness, on the other hand, values people more than its assets and may take such adverse circumstances as the Unmanifest's signal to change lanes and perhaps start a parallel or new venture utilizing the experience of surplus employees. Assets and profits are like oxygen; they are necessary for the organization's existence but are not its sole purpose—the purpose is to work for the health of the whole of which we are parts.
Success requires that organizations remain open to the opportunities and sensitive to the world around them. A Shell Group study of 27 companies revealed that each had changed their 'business-lanes' at least once after inception. Japan's Sumitomo has its origins in a copper casting shop founded by Riemon Soga in 1590. Swedish company Stora, a major paper, pulp and chemical manufacturer, began as a copper mine over 700 years ago. Du Pont, started as a gunpowder company 200 years ago, but is now a specialty chemical company.
Mitsui was a drapery shop 300 years ago, then it became a bank, got into mining and finally moved into manufacturing towards the end of the nineteenth century. These companies have survived so long only because they did not resist change and understood that people are more important than assets and money and the security of both the organization and its people lies in the wisdom of uncertainty that the Unmanifest unfolds with time.
ATUNE YOURSELF TO THE UNMANIFEST
As organizations, we strive for quality but fail to see that behind our products and services is the employee who needs to be in harmony with his inner self. Perfect quality comes from a perfect source: our inner self. Unless the employee is in harmony with his inner self, he will continue to fail in channeling the perfect quality of the Unmanifest into his performance.
Expecting systems and quality checks to bring about quality is much like expecting mere writing down of laws to bring about justice. The quality of our thoughts, speech, actions and work reflects the depths of our inner being from where we operate. When we link ourselves with the Unmanifest, it bestows upon us the potential to see our present actions with the eyes of future—purifying the latter in the process.
Our actions get harmonized with the Unmanifest's plans and hence they result in individual and organizational growth. We can work at various levels to call upon the power of the Unmanifest so that it can seep into the organization.
Meditating helps in transcending both inner as well as external noise that keeps the Unmanifest from us.
Paying heed to our dreams can give us guidance in our day-to-day functioning.
Stepping back from attachment to money, to winning arguments, to our physical form, to assets, our community, our past and to the notion that our ideas, actions, attitudes and values alone are the right ones.
All positive decisions and actions stem from inner silence. Correct actions follow when we pause and seek the guidance of an inner vision.
Recognizing and appreciating what others have done for us and feeling gratitude for all the comforts and good things the Unmanifest has blessed us with.
Visualize personal and organizational intentions that you wish would come true. Picture that they have already been achieved and you are enjoying them. Do not doubt the outcome. Surrender yourself and the outcome to the Unmanifest and trust that they will be fulfilled in your best interests.
All employees of an organization should sit together and spend time in silence to meditate, visualize and silently feel gratitude towards fellow workers and the Unmanifest. It is during these periods of silence that we receive priceless insights. This period of silence should be incorporated in the daily schedule of the organization.
State your intentions before surrendering your mind to complete silence so that the seeds of intentions get the fertile soil of the Unmanifest to sprout and grow.
MAKE THE BEST USE OF THE PRESENT MOMENT
Life is not a destination to be arrived at. What counts is what you are doing with it right now. To help employees make the best use of the present moment, organizations can do the following:
Train people in time management, encouraging them to assign tasks to themselves and to their juniors in harmony with the departmental plans. Ensure a workplace with a minimum of distractions. The furniture and lights should be such that people can work without fatigue for long periods. Encourage people to always talk to each other in low-pitched voices—that too only when necessary. After initial discomfort, they will thrive in such an atmosphere. Stress the importance of keeping the table clean, with everything that is required well within reach.
Follow work-slots of two hours each when no meetings can be held (if possible, these meetings could alternatively be arranged only during the relatively unproductive hours of the afternoons) and no visitors or unimportant telephone calls be entertained. Even the possibility of being disturbed actually disturbs and distracts people.
Make people prioritize their jobs correctly, break up bigger jobs into smaller manageable chunks and plan their day keeping in mind their body clock. There should be continuous efforts to simplify procedures for maximum efficiency and accuracy.
DEVELOP QUALITY PEOPLE
A spiritually underdeveloped employee is very costly to the organization. This is why people who build successful, organizations pay great attention to their employees' developmental needs. Personal transformation programs help in the development of highly effective, quality people. Reiki, vipassana, yoga, sudarshan kriya, Silva mind control, transcendental meditation, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming and sidhha samadhi yoga are some of the systems gaining popularity in corporate circles. Interpersonal communication skills are the backbone of success for any organization.
Employees should develop listening skills, understand the basics of body language, and learn memory enhancing techniques. For the organization to be able to function as one whole, it is essential that communication flows not only from top to bottom but also from bottom to top. For this to happen, it is necessary to create an environment without psychological barriers with emphasis on sharing information. Success does not depend on how much one knows; it depends on how much of it one puts to use. Training programs are a sheer waste of money and time, if initiative or opportunity to apply what is learnt to one's work is lacking.
GROW MOTIVATION MUSCLE
For employees to display loyalty and feel a sense of belonging, organizations must show a similar concern for them. Narrow compartmentalization and overspecialization within the organization prevent individual members from contributing to the larger vision. If suggestion-cells are set up, every employee can put creative, thinking skills to use and suggest changes for personal, official and organizational benefit.
This would also reduce the stress level of employees. Most organizations grossly underestimate the human need for appreciation. This erodes employee motivation and creativity. People should be given an environment where they can enjoy their contribution more than their position. They should always be 'caught doing the right things' and be appreciated for it.
Most organizations today talk of team work but assess people only on individual efforts. People tend to give priority to what they are assessed for. Any assessment must look into various areas which include integrity, information sharing, concern for organization, customer satisfaction, job knowledge, competence, attitude, time management and goal achievement.
Assessments should take into consideration opinions of peers, subordinates, and the customers. The marks or grades given by each one of them should be multiplied by their respective credibility indices. Credibility index shall be in proportion with the total marks achieved by the assessor himself. People should be judged on the weighted mean.
A good way of motivating people to work for the organization and not merely for themselves is to equitably distribute a good percentage of profits (say 10 per cent) as a bonus to employees. In organizations where benefits are meant only for the top few, all others become outsiders. They fail to feel like members and hence lose their sense of belonging.
They work with their eventual exit in mind and pull back from giving their best.
A FINAL WORD
Don't wait for others to change first. Be an active participant in this inevitable change. According to the hundredth monkey phenomenon, when a critical number in a species learn something fundamentally new, the rest of them change automatically and almost immediately all over the globe. Would you not like to be among this critical number of the human species? While following these principles, you might run into rough patches. But through the chaos and confusion, the path will lead to abundance, and personal and organizational enrichment.
Subject: The Donkey MBA - 29 December 2011
Very useful article. Read the blog which highlights the 2 most crucial points very well...must read - http://thedonkeymba.blogspot.com/2011/12/two-must-skills-for-corporate-success.html
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