“Employees First, Customers Second”

I just listened to a TED talk by Vineet Nayar: http://www.tedxaix.com/talks/employees-first-customers-second-vineet-nayar-tedxaix/

Here is a quick introduction to HCL’s “employees first, customers second” in a PDF from the HCL website: https://www.hcltech.com/brochures/corporate/emplyeesfirstminibook 

For too many companies it obviously does not seem reasonable enough to treat their employees this way.

When pondering Vineet Nayar’s ideas again that I first met with a couple of years ago, I thought that the questioning of his perspective might not only be a worrying sign of a lack of true respect for and appreciation of the employees of one’s company and what they mean for it. Looking at it on a deeper level I think it shows a kind of disconnectedness that just because of it favors the caring for the few over the caring for the whole.

Profit is not everything, and “employees first, customers second” should only be a beginning. Enterprises should spend more time thinking about their meaning for larger communities, for a society as a whole and about their impact on the natural world instead of too narrowly just focusing on maximizing profit for the exclusive use of small special interest groups.

Because I deeply believe in an essential position held in ancient Chinese philosophy, i.e. that every external transformation of human systems needs to be based on the process of personal transformation, I see internal personality work as an indispensable starting point for everything else. It is only that in a business environment most people do not see it this way. Of course, this is not only true for executives and a business environment.

This is the reason why I find a focus on body mind work so relevant, and why I with my background particularly focus on Taoist and Buddhist Nei-kung practices. The central text that inspires me, the Tao Te Ching, addressed the leaders of fiefdoms and kingdoms in ancient China. Modern business leaders do often have more power than the dukes and kings addressed in the Tao Te Ching. Wisdom in using this power is, however, often noticeably lacking. Cultivating body and mind for the profit of all is an essential starting point for this kind of wisdom and for connectedness.

The Tao of Business

It happens that people look at The Tao of Business as a book that could help them understand and navigate the Chinese market. But this book was never written with this intent in mind.

If you want to have a quick guide to understand how modern China ticks businesswise, you better take to the The One Hour China Book series by Jeffrey Towson and Jonathan Woetzel.

The original idea for The Tao of Business was to take the concepts regarding leadership and management that you can find in the Tao Te Ching and present them in a modern context that is easily accessible for busy modern readers looking to insert more or deeper meaning into their business activities.

The Tao of Business and the related article “Leadership & Organizational Patterns in the Daodejing” in the Journal of Management Development want to present alternatives to the ways people and things are all too often dealt with in business as well as in politics. A Taoist approach is to do things together with people and for people and not above people’s heads, to protect the natural environent we are a part of instead of exploiting nature.