Can Spirituality Drive Business Success and Profitability? | WMA 富道学院

Can Spirituality Drive Business Success and Profitability?

The spiritual life is, at root, a matter of seeing. It is all of life seen from a certain perspective .

Spirituality Is The Essence of Life

IS THERE A PLACE FOR SPIRITUALITY IN BUSINESS?

Of course there is. The state of our business reflects the state of our mind and the state of our mind is reflected on our work. So, when we feel positive and our head and heart are aligned, we attract positive results. Every time we pursue negative thoughts, they get reflected back. In business term, it is reflected in the form of problems. This is where spirituality come as guidance. Spirituality helps in spreading positive energy within yourself and to others around you. In today’s business world, values and ethics are given less attention while making money has taken over everything else. So, giving due attention to spiritual values into your workplace will build great sense of spirit in their work environment. Spirituality in business can be described in many different perspectives. Some may say that, it is  simply embodying your personal moral values such as honesty, integrity, efficiency, and good quality work, treating co-workers and employees  as a human being in a responsible, caring way. Some of may say that, participating in spiritual study and activities such as 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.

WHAT DOES SPIRITUALITY IN BUSINESS CONTEXT MEANS?

Well there’s many connotation to it. It can mean anything that you think it is to be honest. For example, responsibility, integrity, moral, honesty, accountability, quality, cooperation, caring, service, intuition, loyalty, trustworthiness, respect, justice, guidance, motivation & passing benefits to concerned. All these business ethics spiritual values at workplace will lead to increased productivity. Research by various agencies revealed that, many companies’ works with demand confidentiality about spiritual techniques and afraid of disclosing unconventional approaches adopted for betterment of organization, interns to take the lead compare to competitors. Employees at all levels in the corporate increasingly want to nourish their spirit and creativity. When they are encouraged to express their creativity, the result is a more fulfilled and sustainable. A study by Wilson Learning Foundation, an award-winning training company, stated that around 40% of the variability in corporate performance is attributable to the personal satisfaction of the staff.  Spirituality was cited as the second most important factor in personal happiness. While, some business people are comfortable using the word “spirituality” in the work environment, as it’s more generic and inclusive than “religion.”  Instead of emphasizing belief as religion does, the word spirituality emphasizes how values are applied and embodied. Other people aren’t comfortable with the word “spiritual” and prefer to talk more about values and ethics when describing the same things that others would call spiritual.   There’s some fear about spiritual beliefs or practices being imposed by employers, but to date this has been extremely rare.  On the other hand, some observers warn about the potential for superficiality and the distortion of spiritual practices to serve greed. Key spiritual values embraced in a business context include integrity, honesty, accountability, quality, cooperation, service, intuition, trustworthiness, respect, justice, and service. For example, The Container Store chain nationwide tells workers they are morally obligated to help customers solve problems where they’re not just to sell people products.  

WHY SPIRITUALITY AT WORKPLACE IS IMPORTANT?

Researchers revealed the several certain issues like, to survive into the 21st Century, organizations must offer a greater sense of meaning and purpose for their workforce. In today’s highly competitive 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. Those who are strongly motivated from a spiritual orientation can see clearly that there are many possible benefits to be gained from embracing spirituality at work. The benefits evolve from really knowing how to treat people well so that they thrive and are able to accomplish their best within the organisation. People can be highly productive, innovative and cooperative in the right environments. They can feel fulfilled through their work and know that what they do each day is of value. This brings an important sense of meaning and job satisfaction. It generates happy and enthusiastic employees and productivity rises. Invoking spirituality is a way to help create work environments where people can thrive and flourish. In a spiritual work environment, people thrive because:
  • The organisation, through line-management, takes a personal interest in their development and success
  • People are encouraged to be all that they can be
  • They are appreciated, challenged and excited at the opportunities they have
  • Business leaders promote trust and empowerment
  • Participation in collaborative dialogue is encouraged – instruction and control minimised
  • Employees are supported, coached and thanked
  • Positive emphasis is placed on relationships, ethics, inspiration and reflection
  • Successes are noticed and celebrated.
But many businesses are not like this! Rather they are run in ways that emphasise rationality, process, finance, the short-term and efficiency. Financial outcomes are often seen as the sole measure of success. Control mechanisms which are in place lead to self-centred behaviors.  

ARE SPIRITUALITY AND PROFITABILITY MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE?

Bringing ethics and spiritual values into the workplace can lead to increased productivity and profitability as well as employee retention, customer loyalty, and brand reputation. More employers are encouraging spirituality as a way to boost loyalty and enhance morale. A study done at the University of Chicago by Prof. Curtis Verschoor and published in Management Accounting found that companies with a defined corporate commitment to ethical principles do better financially than companies that don’t make ethics a key management component.  Public shaming of Nike’s sweatshop conditions and slave wages paid to overseas workers led to a 27% drop in its earnings several years ago. Another example, is the Business Week magazine report that found productivity improves and turnover is greatly reduced when companies engage in programs that use spiritual techniques for their employees. Researchers point to several key factors. Corporate downsizing and greater demands on remaining workers has left them too tired and stressed to be creative at the same time that globalization of markets requires more creativity from employees. To survive into the 21st Century, organizations must offer a greater sense of meaning and purpose for their workforce. In today’s highly competitive 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. Unlike the marketplace economy of 20 years ago, today’s information and services-dominated economy requires instantaneous decision-making and building better relationships with customers and employees. Employee moral is important for a company to maintain, to keep high productivity and low levels of absenteeism and turnover. An important part of morale is connected to an employee’s ability to keep their spirituality intact and parallel to their work identity. If your spirituality or religion is a very important part of your life, it’s only natural for all other areas of your life to be affected, as well. There is a strong connection between body and mind. If your employer restricts your spirituality in that certain practices are not allowed, it can begin to affect your productivity. The sustainable business, social investment and spirituality in business movements are one of the hopeful signs that business, as the most powerful institution in world today, may be transforming from within. What is emerging is a new attitude towards the workplace as a place to fulfill one’s deeper purpose. As World Business Academy cofounder Willis Harman remarked many years ago, “The dominant institution in any society needs to take responsibility for the whole, as the church did in the days of the Holy Roman Empire.”  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. As Kahlil Gibran reminds us in The Prophet, “Work is love made visible.”  

WHAT DOES A SPIRITUAL ORGANIZATION LOOK LIKE?

The differences between spiritual organizations and others are very subtle and they have a great deal to do with how we hold and react to the events that surround us. In a spiritual organization, people are much clearer that they are there of their own choosing and that they are masters of their own destiny. People are much less likely to think that they are victims. People tend to treat each experience as an opportunity for personal growth. Thus when they get angry or their ego gets bruised, they are more able to work with those situations in constructive ways. Thus a spiritual organization differs from the more ordinary kind in that it has much better “self-righting” mechanisms. When something goes wrong, people have a natural tendency to bring it back on course, even if that takes a little emotional risk. In other organizations, everywhere you look things have gone wrong – people don’t keep agreements, people are angry with each other, teamwork is inadequate, managers treat their subordinates like children rather than delegating responsibility – but these problems get locked in because it takes too much risk to confront and correct them. In a spiritual business, two forces work to correct such problems: Another characteristic of a spiritual organization is that it has a visionary focus. The organization as a whole has a vision, one that the employees are attracted to. People are there for a common reason, a reason that excites them and causes them to want to put in their own energy. People feel ownership and commitment to a common purpose In conclusion, the organization as a whole has a commitment to deal with and resolve such problems. The individual employees have greater self-mastery and higher self-respect, and thus will not allow themselves to be imposed upon. These two forces create a much higher chance that problems will get confronted and corrected, and contribute to the organization’s “self-righting” mechanism.  

TO CONCLUDE, CAN SPIRITUALITY BOOST SUCCESS?

That truly depends on what success means to you. If success is building and growing together then spirituality can certainly bring success to your business. Spirituality is the knowingness that we are all connected to each other and to something much larger than ourselves and that we are in awe and wonder of its vastness of being, its potentiality, its simplicity, its peacefulness, its synchronicity, its stillness, its aliveness, its presence, its beauty and its grace. In much of the corporate world, we have been conditioned too long to operate mainly under a competitive flag that has been driven by intense focus on short-term profits. If businesses felt the same connectedness to each other, and were all inspired by a vision much greater than just their earnings, we can develop bond deepen long-term sustainable prosperity. What an amazing company that could be described by its potentiality for impact, its simplicity in its effective execution, its sense of well-being among its employees, its aliveness of energy in engaging customers, its presence in the community, its beauty from its creativeness, and its grace and dignity by which it conducts itself. Spirituality expands our edges beyond the duality of what life presents us and into the joy of accepting that all things are possible. It is acknowledging that the unseen is just as much a force in our lives, as those tangible outcomes which our minds and eyes are accustomed. The limitation in business world is imposed by its linear rules and definitions. It must be seen, it must be measured, it must be  reported and it must be controlled. The world is not linear, it is quantum. We live in an amazing world that is an ecosystem of connection and possibility. Spirituality enhances our intuition, which is our communication with the unseen. Our intuition is one of the most extraordinary gifts we have as human beings. It gifts us the ability to discern complexities beyond the restrictions of our reasoning mind. If ever there was a place for intuition, business and value creation is it. To end, sspirituality pertains to an experience of spirit, and I believe that the business community is going to see that spirit is a matter of utmost concern to them. Spirit has to do with action and productivity. If people are not enthusiastic about their work, the work will suffer. We are coming into a time in which it is becoming obvious that a new way of structuring our organizations is vital for our happiness and productivity. We are just starting to discover that we can structure work so that it is enjoyable, fulfilling, and productive.         
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