spirtua

Has Your Business Got A Conscience?

According to The Centre for Visonary Leadership , spirituality in business means different things to different people. Some say that it’s simply embodying their personal values of honesty, integrity, and good quality work. Others say it’s treating their co-workers and employees in a responsible, caring way.  For others, it’s participating in spiritual study groups or using prayer, meditation, or intuitive guidance at work. And for some, it’s making their business socially responsible in how it impacts the environment, serves the community or helps create a better world.

Harvard Business School reported on the Möbius Leadership Forum Discussion with executives from a wide range of industries on how their spirituality helps them be powerful leaders:

  • For Robert Glassman, his spirituality at work is expressed as a commitment to social justice. As co-founder and co-chairman of Wainwright Bank & Trust Company based in Boston, Glassman said issues such as homelessness, women’s rights and outreach to the gay and lesbian community have shaped his own life and the life of his business. He goes on to say:

“the harmony amongst my personal life, business life and philanthropy is as close as I’m going to come to being a spiritual person.”

  • According to Ricardo Levy, chairman of Catalytica Energy Systems, executives are trained for action—contemplation is not part of their rulebook. In his own career, however, he discovered the need for spiritual guidance in crucial decisions, especially those that affect other people such as employees. Asked by a member of the audience for his definition of success, Levy said:

“I’d rather use the word fulfillment. Success is a metric; you never have enough. But only you can define fulfillment. We as individuals are the only judges.”

  • Gregory Slayton (HBS MBA ’90), chairman of ClickAction Inc., said his beliefs are never far from his office. Literally. He reads the Bible at work, and employees will sometimes drop in on him while he is praying.

“That shouldn’t bother anyone. It’s how I stay in balance.”

  • On the other hand, Zia Chishti, chairman and CEO of Align Technology, said he tries to keep his religious faith as far from the office as possible, fearing it would alienate some employees. But that doesn’t mean his spiritual values have no place at work. He said he distils his Muslim beliefs into a set of ethics that help him guide the business. He added that one of the downsides of leadership, isolation, can also be a benefit.

“Isolation is not all that bad, because it forces introspection into your basic beliefs.”

Business soul and conscience

There is a shift happening in the world of business and it’s reflected in the Triple Bottom Line accounting framework of People, Planet and Profit. Growing public awareness of the exploitation of cheap labour and excessive use of hydrocarbons has forced several companies, including Nike and Tesco, to re-examine their sourcing policies. The new European GDPR regulation is forcing businesses both large and small to respect the privacy of their customers and be transparent and honest when marketing to them.

Businesses are having to develop a soul and a conscience. Being aware of their impact ecologically, not just on their employees but also on the environment and their customers, is becoming a key to success and profitability. A mission statement is just not enough anymore – actions and results are what count to joined-up consumers.

Social media is making it very difficult for any entity to maintain a facade and authenticity is becoming a necessity. People are seeing through spiel, discovering the truth and sharing what they find. The bigger the name, the quicker it spreads. Authenticity is being forced upon all organisations, both businesses and governments.

Are we becoming trendy?

Though this evolutionary process is not complete, it is a growing trend. It’s making it much easier for conscious businesses to speak our truth and value our beliefs. To be authentic.

Some of my mainstream business colleagues thought I was mad to combine both Tarot and Business and for a long time, I went along with them. I kept one foot in the business world and the other in the mysteries, never quite fitting into either. But being inauthentic is exhausting, it was like living two different lives.

Four years ago I started developing a coaching methodology that enabled me to combine all of my business skills with my spiritual experience to help other business owners. For the first time, I really feel like I’m serving my community from an authentic and honest place. I’ve never been happier.

Scepticism is healthy

I really do believe in magic. There are things in this world that we just don’t understand – magical things with no explanation. Think of those who conjure up music, literature and art almost from thin air and the brilliant entrepreneurs who just seem to know what to do to succeed. Where does that inspiration, that knowing, that magical spark come from – where does it live?

With my advancing years, I have also become quite sceptical and am not really that woo-woo (don’t laugh now, everything is relative). I’m not part of the rainbows and dolphins brigade and I don’t believe the universe will fix my business (or anything else) if I just ask nicely and buy a crystal.

I do understand about using tools to focus the mind though.  It’s not the crystal doing the work, it’s only a symbol to help focus the intention of the conscious mind. Intense focus helps to create a connection between the unconscious and the spark of inspiration mentioned above. And getting the connection, the inspiration, the spark is just the first step – the next is taking action and make things happen (compose the music, write the book, paint the masterpiece, do the business). So no, I don’t believe that I just have to ask and the “universe” will do the work for me but I do believe that it works with me.

I use the Tarot to set up the connection, to focus the mind and ignite the spark. I use the images and symbolism to relay the message to jump-start the imagination that leads to inspiration. And I use my business experience and coaching skills to encourage you to devise the plan and take the action to create your desired outcome.

I really don’t care what you believe in, but believe in something – something greater than yourself. Be that the spark, higher self, god, goddess, the universe, great spirit or your mysterious cat. Connecting to the spark of inspiration –  combining belief with business is powerful. It’s honest and it’s deep and it aligns your principles and ethics with your business goals and aspirations.

About the author

My business experience ranges from project management of large-scale website builds and integrated marketing campaigns to managing digital start-ups and training companies. I have been involved in the Internet since the early 90’s and have worked with clients in most industries, both public and private sector. In 2012 I retrained as a business and transformation coach while continuing to work as a contractor in the digital field.

My spiritual background is in exploring various religions, practices and philosophies, from the Abrahamic religions to Witchcraft, Shamanism and Druidry. The Tarot has always fascinated me and the study of its symbolic meanings, in the western esoteric tradition, has introduced me to Kabbalah, Astrology, Alchemy and so much more.

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