An Authored article by Mr. Niranjan Gidwani, Consultant Director | Member UAE Superbrands Council | Charter Member Tie Dubai | Hbr Advisory Council The hottest buzzwords in the world of business are an honest and openly visible commitment to “people, planet, and through them, to profit.” Well, these are at least the most talked about buzzwords.Employees and the environment are now seen as important as economics.
When we look around, we realise that there is a progressively growing number of the newer generation who are finding that there Is more to life and business than mere profits. Money as the single and sole bottom line is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.
On the flip side of the coin, in a world of massively humongous corporate frauds, and the equally high costs to contain those frauds, values and ethics are becoming an urgent area of concern. And yet, whoever talks about spirituality and good business practices is likely to be either seriously misunderstood or scoffed at. It won’t, therefore, come as a surprise if many read the title and completely skip this article.
Why not try to dissect the meaning of the word in relation to good business practices.
There could be a wide range of important perspectives. Some could say it is as simple as treating their co-workers and employees and all other stakeholders in a responsible and caring way. Others could say that it is as simple as bringing their personal values of honesty, integrity and commitment to work. And for some, it could be making their business socially responsible in how it impacts the environment, serves the community or helps create a better world.
My idea of spirituality is just plain, responsible, caring living in action. Real time. Key spiritual values exhibited in a business context include integrity, honesty, accountability, quality, cooperation, intuition, trustworthiness, respect, justice, and service. Interestingly, there is also a slow but growing increase in the number of good organizations who feel that they are morally obliged to help humanity solve problems. Look at how many problems the startups of the world have solved.So why then use this word spirituality and put off most of the business world?
Well, actually, it just adds a better perspective. Corporate downsizing, an almost maniacal, non-stop focus on growth and bottom line, and greater demands on remaining workers has left them too tired and stressed to be creative. To survive into the 21st Century, organizations need to offer a greater sense of meaning and purpose for their workforce. In today’s highly competitive, highly uncertain environment, the best talent seeks out organizations that reflect their inner values and provide opportunities for personal development and community service, not just bigger salaries. Today’s information and services-dominated economy requires instantaneous decision-making and building better relationships with customers and employees.Another key contributing factor is the fact that there are more women in the workplace today. And whether we like it or not, women generally tend to bring more humane and spiritual values to the table. More and more parts of the developed world are realising that materialism no longer satisfies them, and that it has not necessarily led to a higher level of contentment at the global level. On the contrary, mental and stress related health issues are hugely on the rise, probably more in the so called materially affluent nations. The developing world and the under-developed nations of the world are quickly catching up. Generosity with one’s time and positive energy is as important as generosity with money.
More and more good governments and organizations are making a committed moral decision to employ the unemployable and put a certain percentage of their net profits back into the community because this is what “keeps the soul of humanity alive.” Many companies and governments see their commitment to the environment as their spiritual mission.
Sustainable business, social investment and spirituality in business movements are hopeful signs that business, as the most powerful institution in the world today, may be transforming from within. What is emerging is a new attitude towards the workplace as a place to meet one’s deeper purpose. Each day, more and more businesses are helping to create a better world by being more socially responsible in how they treat people and the environment. They are proving that spirituality helps–rather than harms–the bottom line. Just because the word Spirituality is directly linked to religion, and religion has become the cause of a lot of the problems of the world, there is therefore a growing resentment to use it in the world of business. In reality, it just needs to be re-defined as plain simple living of one’s honest, ethical values which are written in all scriptures of the world.