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.
“Remaking the Industrial Economy”
By Hanh Nguyen, Martin Stuchtey, and Markus Zils
McKinsey Quarterly, February 2014
Also take a look at the Circular Economy Reports by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation(http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/business/reports)
The discussion of this Guardian post by Jo Confino, “How technology has stopped evolution and is destroying the world” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/technology-stopped-evolution-destroying-world) very much reminds me of the summary of the social criticism within the Tao Te Ching in my doctoral dissertation (pp. 417-432: http://ub-dok.uni-trier.de/diss/diss27/20010129/20010129.htm).
If only more companies would truly make mindfulness a core of their actions! Just read a recent Financial Times article by David Gelles with the following subtitle:
“Yoga, meditation, ‘mindfulness’ – why some of the west’s biggest companies are embracing eastern spirituality”
Here is the link to the article and a comment by Dr. Shi Bisset and me:
“How Leaders Kill Meaning at Work”
McKinsey Quarterly, January 2012, by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer
The above is an important read for senior executives that goes well together with the emphasis on “personal development” as an outstanding reason in getting an MBA in the following post by MBAChannel, “New Survey Challenges Some Accepted Truths” (http://www.mba-channel.com/channel/article/new-survey-challenges-some-accepted-truths):
“Professor Emmanuel Dion, of Audencia Business School explains: ‘The MBA is about creating leaders. Professional experience plus personality is what forms you as a leader and enables you to deliver results for your company.’ ”
(Quote from the MBAChannel post)
I just read a Harvard Business Review article by David K. Hurst about an impressive real-life example of a turnaround in which Taoist concepts played an important inspirational role. The article makes me really look forward to David K. Hurst’s new book planned for publication by Columbia University press in spring 2012.
Though the article actually is from 1984, it has not lost any of its relevance! Here is the link to the article:
“Of Boxes, Bubbles, and Effective Management”
by David K. Hurst, Harvard Business Review, May-June 1984
My latest article on the relevance of Daoist/Taoist concepts and strategies for management has just been published by the Journal of Management Development. The title is “Leadership and Organizational Patterns in the Daodejing”.
Journal of Management Development, Vol. 30 Issues: 7/8, pp.675 – 684