Social revolutions are nothing but the outer manifestation of an inner evolution that has already begun. There is a fundamental shift that is happening to human consciousness and cognition around the world. One crucial point is that, while our inner-world, which consists of our thoughts, meaning-making, perspective-taking and the very experience of what it is to be a human, is evolving rapidly, our outer-world, our economic systems, political arrangements, organizational cultures are struggling hard to catch up.
I propose a curriculum that helps leaders find their creativity, higher purpose and passion not only in service of the organization, but in the community and the world as well. This truly comprehensive model is holistic in its approach, serves multiple bottom lines and is wisdom-centric at its very roots.
The Conference Board’s survey shows that U.S. job satisfaction is at 22-year low! The concern here is not only job satisfaction; at issue are the fundamental ideas and concepts on which we run our organizations:
- There is a clarion call for integrating life’s purpose with the organization’s purpose
- There is a strong demand by employees to be able to express their individuality, creativity and passion, a demand often overlooked by organizations
- Leaders are not accustomed to thinking in terms of personal transformation in service of organizational transformation
- Thinking globally and acting locally is not yet a mandate for leadership
As we contemplate for a solution to this problem, we will soon realize that we already have a hunch, an intuition of what is next. We know something is happening; a shift is taking place right under our noses. So after the ages of hunting and gathering, horticulture and agriculture, the industrial revolution and information technology, which is itself evolving into the age of knowledge, what is next? It is the age of Consciousness, the age of Wisdom. And in this new age, we will again shift the way we live our lives, the way we relate with each other, the way we do business. And in doing so, we need to realize that the same principles that we apply to ourselves individually to transform should be applied to organizations too for success.
We need to understand that the principle of life is ‘responsibilism’ – it says the person who takes the responsibility has the right to enjoy; the right to live. The same applies to organizations as well. For every corporation alignment into life’s purpose is needed. I will provide key principles on which organizations can be based on and values that employees can live by that will help them build organizations that align to a higher purpose, foster long term value creation and enable social returns. These are principles that we apply in our organization and are absolutely true for a for-profit corporation as well.
- Alignment to a higher purpose
- Every member should associate himself or herself with a higher identity.
Every one of us should associate ourselves with a higher identity. When we remember our social and global responsibilities, completing our corporate responsibilities becomes easy. Only when we understand and believe in our higher identity, will we be able to successfully make others around us understand their higher identity. Higher identity makes us understand that the responsibility we have is very small, very simple. Establishing ourselves in a higher identity makes us feel responsible for ethics. Responsible ethics are the only ethics that will survive. We need to understand what business society has with us, what business our company has with us, what business our family has with us. When we understand the business in every relationship, the ‘weak sentiments’ will be forgotten and we establish an authentic and ethical climate.
Let me explain what I mean by ‘weak sentiments’. Many employees feel they are sacrificing for the company and the company feels it is sacrificing for the employees. Many parents feel they are sacrificing their life for their children, but children feel the other way round. This is forced sacrifice. Whether it is a company or society, when we understand what we need to give and what we expect, lot of our concepts about pseudo sacrifice disappear. When our concepts of pseudo sacrifice disappear, they just don’t go alone, they take away many of our ‘weak sentiments’.
A man whose life is not built on weak principles will always be successful. It is just like if you try to build your building’s foundation on weak sand, the building will not stand. But if you build it on a strong foundation, the building will stand.
Many times we know some of the ideas, relationships we are jumping into are not going to be long lasting, or leading to a stable life, or giving life satisfaction. Doing things which are not for the long term, which are not for the principles of life is living by weak sentiments. There cannot be separate principles for life and separate principles for the company. One’s workplace is a major part of his/her life; so the principles of an individual’s life and the corporate principles need to be integrated.
2. Every member should have clear expectations about what they will offer and what they want, being grounded in clear ethics.
Every individual should understand his/her position not only related to the company and the team, but also in a broader context related to the society and the universe in which he/she is living. You should be very clear about what you want, what you are going to offer to people, what you expect from people, what you expect from the cosmos and what you are going to offer to the cosmos. Unless you are settled clearly about you with the broader contexts like society and universe you will be constantly shattered even by a small thought or a small friction with your team. If you have an identity and are feeling settled only with your family and your team in your office, any small attack outside your family, office and team will shake you.
Your identity needs to be settled related to the society too, i.e, in the broader context.
‘What am I with this society?
What is my social responsibility?
What am I in this universe?
What is my universal identity in the universal context?’
When your identity becomes clear with these broader contexts, you will perform well with your team.
In our organization, every individual, every volunteer is asked to think about these deeply and write and share their mission statements.
2. Long term value creation
1. Realize short term performance & long term value creation is not different. Understanding, internalizing and spiritually realizing the importance and method of short term performance is long term value creation.
Responsible short-term performance is long-term value creation. Only when we perform, when we create, take responsibility, our own understanding and idea about ourselves raises. Only when we take responsibility, contribute and make a difference in the life of others either directly or through actions that make a difference in other’s lives, do we have a right understanding about ourselves. Long-term value creation is creating self-understanding and internalizing that understanding based on responsible action. Long-term value creation is nothing but understanding ourselves and this understanding will result in short-term performance. If we are philosophically convinced about the interrelation of short-term performance and the importance of long-term value creation, we will go on performing. People who philosophically understand and internalize the necessity for short-term performance, build long-term values.
The key here is to discover one’s higher purpose and integrate all of one’s actions authentically with what one believes to be one’s life’s mission, one’s life’s purpose. If one knows one’s mission, one’s short-term performance will continuously increase and expand because it is directly connected to long-term value creation.
Honesty and authenticity create long-term value. The very frequency of our life is decided on the strength of our integrity. Whether it be our physical health, mental state, consciousness, spiritual life—everything is based just on integrity.
Authenticity creates a direct powerful impact in multiple dimensions of one’s life. It brings in more clarity as it automatically reduces conflict and confusion. This directly invokes more creativity. So, this leads to effective, clear and quick decision-making. The effortless decision-making leads to more energy as it directly eliminates stress. This finally leads to improvement in productivity and at the same time gives one life satisfaction.
2. Create an ambience where knowledge and creativity is celebrated
Every organization should create an ambience where knowledge and creativity is celebrated. This can happen only when a person who owns the organization or who takes maximum responsibility for it celebrates knowledge and creativity. Constantly reminding, constantly encouraging personal discipline, celebrating serving, celebrating sacrifice—that kind of ambience will encourage entrepreneurs.
A creative atmosphere will not be created by money. Varied portfolio opportunities and internal entrepreneurial development are nurtured by the whole ambience of an organization. No single incentive or measure system can help encourage internal entrepreneurs. Only a total way of life, only celebrating the internal entrepreneur and celebrating varied portfolios will help.
3. Social returns
1. Integrating social returns at every level is intelligence
Let us understand what social return is. It is nothing but looking at life from a broad perspective. If we build a house for ourselves, it is for personal safety and security. If we build a public road to the house, it is called social return. But without the road, the house is useless. Social return, therefore, is nothing but looking at life beyond our personal needs and wants. By this definition, looking at corporate strategy in terms of social return is not an act of compassion or sacrifice; nor is it an act of morality or even ethics - -- it is just intelligence. Social consideration is an act of intelligence, not a decision from the heart. We need to understand the responsibility of the company towards the local community, the larger society; we need to understand our responsibility with a larger perspective. This very understanding itself is enough. The enthusiasm, energy and experience of larger vision and larger responsibility itself is enough to make you take decisions based on consideration of social returns.
2. An individual’s ambition, excitement, energy, and intelligence are the same when they become a part of society. Society’s ambition, inspiration, and ability to move further are in no way less than our own excitement, creativity or intelligence.
As individuals, we need to observe how much inspiration we feel, how much intelligence we have, how many understandings we have. Then we need to understand that society also has the same understandings, same inspiration and intelligence. The ability to trust the social intelligence awakens the possibility of awakening our own intelligence. Only when we believe that collectively human beings are not mediocre are we growing. When we understand this, we will constantly be innovative, creative, expanding. This one understanding is very important in the corporate world or any field where creativity is happening, where creation is taking place. Never ever expect that when we become part of society we become mediocre. Our goals do not change when we become a member of society. Whether we are an individual or a member of society, our goal is the same: fulfillment.
Whatever may be the organization, if more and more people, especially in higher positions of power, become seekers of ethical truths and the higher truths of life, the organization as a whole will have higher ethics, greater stability, more job satisfaction, more fulfillment … and more profitability. Please understand, encourage inner work life. Let more and more number of people become seekers. You will see the organization becomes more stable, more ethical, more strong, more productive.
These are the values every person in the organization should live by:
1. Take responsibility
Life’s principles are based on responsibilism. If you want to be healthy, if you want to explode in the spiritual zone, take responsibility. If you want wealth, take responsibility in that direction. The more responsibility you take up, the more you expand and grow. When you live with the attitude that you are responsible for everything, your whole life will change. When you take up responsibility for everything that happens around you, you will start expanding.
The same principles apply for you in your organization too.
Sometimes we feel that we are forced to take up responsibilities. Whether something feels forced or authentic, it’s all a habit. Natural flowering is not a habitual response, and if a feeling of responsibility does not flow naturally in a certain direction, then we need to make it flower. Anything other than taking responsibility will never be natural. So anything that can make us responsible, we need to take it up. It is not force, it is discipline, it is growth.
Exercise: Here is an exercise you can do in your organization: Every morning when you gather for work, spend at least one hour understanding responsibility. Let every person who is part of your organization be made to understand about his/her responsibility. Let every person imbibe in his/her life the principle of responsibility. I tell you this one hour will not reduce your productivity. Every organization should spend at least 10% of their time and energy for understanding and alignment. In my organization, I use almost 25% of our time for proper understanding and alignment to life’s principles.
You also need to understand the misconceptions about stress and maximum capacity.
Misconceptions about stress: Any stress is healthy when we accept stress. Stress is unhealthy only when we have the concept that we may burst at some time, if we feel ‘I may burst if I accumulate more stress’. Stress is a disease based on belief. If we are very clear that no amount of stress is going to make us burst, we will not have unhealthy stress.
The idea of stress itself is wrong. When we understand this, the pain will really become sweet pain and after some time, the pain also disappears and only the sweet remains. So we need to continue to make decisions, continuously take challenges and take decisions to exhaust our confidence. Then the next day we will have more courage, more confidence and we will have more energy.
Myth of capacity & maximum performance: Performing to our maximum capacity means that the moment we perform to our maximum capacity today, tomorrow our maximum capacity will increase. When we are at our maximum capacity, we will know. Our mind cannot fool us so much. We will just introspect honestly. The moment we have a doubt ‘Am I performing to my maximum capacity?’, we are not. If we are performing to our maximum capacity, there will be no doubt. When we are performing to the maximum capacity, we will be able to vision a new maximum capacity. I can tell you from my personal experience. In 2003 when I started this sangha (organization), to tell you honestly I did not know it was sangha. I started it as a small ashram. I thought at the most I will spread my spiritual experience to few countries, to few places. So when I started I never thought, never ever expected so much will be happening around me. And it when it started happening around me, I never felt tired or bored. I performed to my maximum capacity and always my maximum capacity is continuously getting extended.
2. Continuously perform without being attached to results
Continuous performance is what makes you more and more alive and raises your frequency to the next level. Go on performing, working without being attached to the results. When you are attached to the results the power of expression and creativity is drastically reduced and destroyed! Any attachment to the result directly reduces your creativity and expression of perfection. How often we limit our expression based on the expected returns! When we work based on expectation, we can never exceed our expectations! We are stuck with a limited vision that destroys our spontaneous power of expression. The expression of perfection is reduced the moment you are attached to the result. So you should continuously perform actions without being attached to the results. We can see this in action in our organization which has more than 1000 full- time volunteers.
3. Be a high achiever in everything you do
The purpose of life is expansion. The purpose of life is being a high achiever. A high-achiever is one who simply keeps on performing with no thought for rewards. He is fueled by sheer inspiration. He has abundant energy and is not afraid to take risks. He takes ownership. He lives for the joy of creating and expanding his boundaries. Wealth is for high achievers! Wealth chooses those who don’t bother to compare what they give with what they receive. And it’s not as if a high-achiever does not gather wealth! When you work intensely to create wealth, with the clear awareness that wealth is just a utility and not the goal of your life, you will not calculate your performance in advance based on what you might receive in return. The attitude of a high-achiever is purely spiritual. Treat the task ahead of you as sacred, and you will spontaneously become a high-achiever. Just decide this much: ‘I will not calculate. I am not going to stop my life flow. I am going to break into life. I am going to explode in life!’ Simply keep on expressing yourself, and the energy and the resources will be made available to you. You will expand into areas you never thought were possible, and wealth and abundance will automatically gather around you. You will become an inspirational force for those around you. The more you give, the more you allow wealth in all its forms to flow into you.
The secret to success is constantly being a high achiever, never ever measuring your achievements. Then it will be a constant growth; expansion. Whenever you measure the achievements you made, when you feel, ‘Wow! I have achieved so much!’, then it leads to tiredness. When you just constantly move forward, life becomes inspiration instead of perspiration. The moment you measure the distance you travelled, life becomes perspiration. Maturity is to understand you are not in any running race, you are the running race! You belong to a race which is running. By your very nature, by your very race, you are programmed for running. If you feel you are in the running race, life is going to be lot of perspiration, tiredness. If you feel you are in a race of running, life is going to be inspiration, expansion.
Never ever you become high achiever when you are not built on a foundation of a higher ethics. Your ethical principles create the foundation on which your personality is built. Understand if the ethical foundations are not strong, even a small shake will send a tremor in you; the building will shake. The higher purpose, selflessness, etc happens only when you are a peak high achiever, when there is peak performance.
4. Infuse efficiency into everything you do
Efficiency means the action should have its effect on the outer world and the inner world. The action should be creating the desired result outside and the desired result inside. That is what I mean by the word efficiency! If I have to give an example, in our organization, every morning everyone does Yoga. The action of doing Yoga should create the desired result in the outer world means the body being healthy and same way it should create the desired result in the inner world - creating a positive pattern or positive mental set up which is the purpose of Yoga. Same way, if you are creating a relationship it should create the friendly relationship and it should bring the happiness and fulfillment which you are supposed to have in your inner space through that relationship. So efficiency means the effect of the action in the outer world and in the inner world.
Efficiency in action means never being tired of action! Any action which makes you tired, will make you old, will bring you disease. Your action when it does not make you tired, when it goes on inspiring you for more and more and more, then suddenly every moment of your life will become sweet and joy! It should be! Efficiency brings so much of joy.
5. Be a leader
Leadership is not a quality. It is an experience that an individual who has undergone personal growth and transformation radiates. This is the simple truth. A true leader is a person who is ready to take responsibility consciously. They are ready to handle life consciously and are not constantly dependent on the past. A true leader is a person who is able to respond spontaneously to situations. They are fresh in ideas and continuously keeps themselves alive.
Most of us achieve the status of a leader, but not the state. State is totally different from status. Status comes from society. When I use the word ‘state’ I mean our inner space. Our inner space should be mature enough to handle the responsibility, which we assume. Each one of us is a potential leader. The quality of leadership arises from one’s ability to take responsibility for a particular organization, a situation or a particular group with tremendous awareness and maturity. Leadership is simply a conscious choice made by an individual to act out of deep sensitivity and awareness to one’s situation and surrounding. Then automatically, the inner space will start transforming and send out the right words and actions.
These are principles and values we follow in our organization and we can see from the highlights below that they are absolutely true for a for-profit corporation as well:
- 15 million followers worldwide
- Presence in 150 countries
- Over 300 books in 27 languages
- Most watched guru on youtube – over 2000 hours of FREE talks with over 14 million views
- Enlightened Management talks at Microsoft, Qualcomm, Pepsi, Oracle, AT&T, Petrobras, etc.
- 9000 initiated spiritual healers
- Over 1000 teachers
- More than 1000 full-time volunteers
- A dozen Vedic temples worldwide, housing 3720 energized deities
- Largest deities in North America: Venkateshwara, Nataraja, Ganesha, Meenakshi, Subramanya, Shiva.
- Free food: 10,000 free meals served per week
- Weekend Rural Medical Camps with FREE diagnosis, consultation, medicines and follow-up
- Supporting rural education through infrastructure, school uniforms and educational materials
- Nithyananda Vidyalayas: Enlightenment-based education blending vedic learning system with modern scientific approach
- The Nithyananda Order: Hundreds of aspirants receiving intensive spiritual training and sannyas
These understandings are new ways of looking at a few major concepts in the corporate sphere and in life. The cultural shift suggests that leadership models based on consciousness are the mandate for our future. More and more organizations are looking into holistic approaches to transform management practices and create a learning environment which is both sustainable and wisdom-centric. This curriculum fundamentally shifts the way an organization operates on a day-to-day basis. This curriculum ensures:
- Promotion of internal entrepreneurship
- Shifts in consciousness and understandings of identity and value
- Transformation of existing institutions
This curriculum has to be embedded as part of organizational culture. This ensures the application and on-going leadership training which can transform organizational capacities tremendously.