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.

Two statements by Peter Drucker 

In May 3’s Fortune CEO Daily (http://www.fortune.com/2017/05/02/ceo-daily-tuesday-2nd-may/) Alan Murray quotes two statements by Peter Drucker that I want to re-quote here, because I find them of high relevance in an environment where CSR is too often merely seen as an important marketing tool to redirect attention from otherwise not so responsible business practices: 

“It is management’s public responsibility to make whatever is genuinely in the public good become the enterprise’s own self-interest.”

“The proper social responsibility of business is to tame the dragon – that is, to turn a social problem into economic opportunity and economic benefit, into productive capacity, into human competence, into well-paid jobs, and into wealth.” 

I think in a nutshell these two beautiful quotes actually provide essential strategic guidance for any entrepreneurial activity in the context of sustainable management. 

Leadership, personal development and sustainability

Nowadays, with the influence of emotional intelligence within a leadership and management context being explored so widely and explained so well, it makes it much easier to introduce the “body” into serious discussions on CSR and sustainability. The way you treat your own body, the way you move and the way you use your body as a sensory organ does not only shed light on a person’s behavior patterns in general. It also reveals a person’s emotional maturity.

What do you feed and nourish your body with? How much junk food, junk drinks and junk mental and emotional contents (for instance via print media, TV, digital contents, etc.) do you pile on your body on a daily basis? The mental content a person consumes regularly has a very clear physiological impact that then again results in specific emotional and mental patterns. The degree of alertness a person shows in this regard will be reflected in the alertness in his or her communication and interactions with others.

What is the content you confront your employees with on a daily basis with regards to the mental and emotional aspects, for instance moods or the way you sense and deal with expectations? Do I treat my body; do I treat myself in a sustainable way? How far does a company actually push its CSR and sustainability endeavors?

Making work meaningless:

“How Leaders Kill Meaning at Work”

McKinsey Quarterly, January 2012, by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer
(https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Governance/Leadership/How_leaders_kill_meaning_at_work_2910)

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)