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Naval aviator and NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell believed that there is a spectrum of consciousness available to all human beings. At one end of the spectrum is what one may refer to as material consciousness. At another end one may experience what could be referred to as ‘field’ consciousness, where a person becomes one with the universe, perceiving the universe. When he was out in space and looked at our beautiful planet, Mitchell said that he felt having attained a state of field consciousness.

Different Hues of Consciousness

Identifying different hues of consciousness is akin to the case of seven blind men trying to describe an elephant. People have different perspectives.Many of us use our brains to explain what we understand it to be. Many others use our hearts to do so. But the concept of consciousness is rather profound. It is beyond the sensory limitations of the human mind, which has an uncanny ability to divide and analyze things. So, when Mitchell spoke of field consciousness, he was possibly referring to the part of the consciousness spectrum which is beyond human imagination.

Spiritual masters tell us that consciousness is the breeding ground of all things, the source of creation. Thus, whatever we see on the material plane – all species and each one of us – possesses consciousness. Our individual consciousness is embedded in this universal consciousness. In the interim stages, we have collective/group consciousness. All of these could be different but lead eventually to the universal/field consciousness.

On the mortal plane, for those who are aware of their inner reality, a shift from one to another kind of consciousness becomes possible. As per the Shamanic tradition, this would be like shifting the Assembly Point.

How Travel Becomes an Uplifting Experience 

Many decades back, as a kid, I had the privilege of seeing – from a distance, of course – Yuri Gagarin, a former military pilot and the first human being to have travelled to outer space. When he looked at Planet Earth from inside his Vostok 1 capsule in 1961, he expressed his feelings thus:

“Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it”.

When one looks at our planet from outer space, geographical and man-made boundaries disappear. Fault lines arising out of religious beliefs, caste, creed and nationality vanish. Conflicts look petty manifestations of the inflated egos of our leaders. Wars sound meaningless and a waste of precious resources. One ends up seeing the bigger picture. A composite whole becomes the reality.   

Not many of us get to travel to outer space. However, even at the mundane level of our lives, our experience is not different. Once we shift our Assembly Point, so to say, or change our frame of reference of viewing things, people, objects and incidents, we experience the exhilaration of a fresh perspective on the situation at hand. By distancing ourselves from our immediate surroundings, we allow the windows of our minds to open up to newer possibilities and ideas. Our problem solving abilities improve.

Take the case of what happens when we travel. The worries of prior preparations melt away. The concerns at the point of destination take some time to pop up. In this brief interval of time, we often gain a fresh perspective. We get charged up. Likely solutions emerge to intricate problems which sounded insurmountable till yesterday. Hope dawns. We walk into the sunset with our heads held high and our vision clearer.

Three Catalysts of Universal Consciousness

Switching over from one kind of consciousness to another one is not easy. Nor is the inner journey from material consciousness to universal consciousness. Three catalysts, which can help us to achieve this universal consciousness, are: Awareness, Care and Intent.

If simple awareness is the starting point on the spiritual path, attaining a deeper level of awareness brings us face to face with our true selves. The more we care for our environment and our society, the better human beings we become. If our intentions are as pure as fresh snow, driven by a compass of benign values, the actions we take and the resultant results we get are more likely to enrich the cosmos at large.

Enlightened leaders who strive for a higher purpose in life are indeed the conscious ones whom we could all look up to.

(Inputs from Dominique Conterno and Esther Robles, co-founders of Consciousness Enterprises Network (https://www.consciousenterprises.net) are gratefully acknowledged).

(A version of this article also features on the website of Conscious Enterprises Network: https://consciousenterprisenetwork.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-cosmos-and-consciousness-by-ashok.html)

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  1. Introduction

“You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of the work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for Inaction”. These are some of prominent verses of Shri Bhagavad Gita, which essentially convey the most significant human values that we must inculcate within us throughout this journey of life.

In this era of 21st century, where employees in the organizations are in a constant competitive space, trying to fulfil their individual and organizational goals, basic values which make up the human are often getting ignored. As Samuel Johnson, one of the prolific English writers quoted, ‘The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good’, explains the true quality that every human being should possess.

Values are basically the beliefs that refer to desirable goals that drive action. Our values are extremely important as they help us to grow and develop in the desired way. They help us to create the future we desire to experience. Every organization and the individuals working there are involved in making hundreds of decisions every day. These decisions are the reflection of our own values and beliefs and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. Thus, this purpose serves as the satisfaction of our individual or collective needs.

2. Present context in organizations

Technology is now ingrained at each and every step of our lives. Organizations have been keen on leveraging the maximum usage of these technological advancements and, thus, are looking out to a better diversification of their businesses. Start-ups have been rising at a tremendous pace, not only creating a competition to the established entities but also offering wide opportunities to the working employees’ segment. Thus, with such hustle and bustle in the outside world, most of the employees at any level or designation are today being compelled to only think about the results and achieving recognition in the market. While achieving the results is, undoubtedly significant, but focussing on processes is equally important. Today, in the quest of achieving more, higher managements can often be seen setting goals which seem impractical to achieve and employees while striving to achieve the same are seen as being being ruthless to their subordinates. According a study by Gallop across 27 million employees and over 2.5 million work units, it was seen that only 30% of the employees in US are actually engaged at work and only around 13% around the globe are engaged in the work at their workplaces.

3. Significance of Human Values in Organizations

Values are significant as they guide our beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. Realising, understanding, and staying true to our values is, therefore, one of the most important efforts that any human being can make. The same applies to our work places where the importance of values cannot be ignored.

When we say values in organizations, these can be perceived through two perspectives. One belongs to ‘Leadership Values’ which pertains to values possessed by the higher management in the organizations. The second one is the ‘Employee Values’ which is associated with the values possessed by the employees working in any organization.         

a. Leadership Values

i. Compassion and Patience

The higher management and managers in the organizations, today, should necessarily inculcate a sense of compassion and patience within them. Though the company’s goals and targets are equally important, at the same time, leaders must also realise that the employees working towards it should not get overburdened. A true leader must always have an understanding of employee capabilities and interests and thus taking these factors into account, one should shape one’s expectations from them accordingly.

Patience is another human value which gets ignored these days while getting the things get done. Leaders should precisely consider the work efforts required for a particular task and should also consider the employee constraints while working on it. Thus, having a perfect balance of compassion and patience, leaders in the organization will be able to achieve the results as desired without disturbing the employee morale.

ii. Self Confidence and Trust in Employees

In this rapidly changing technological environment, leaders often come across situations where they need to adopt or develop a completely new emerging application based on the requirements. In such cases, the leaders have to rely upon their past experience and have to find out ways in which the new application can be developed.

A sense of trust has to be built among the employees and higher management, where it is ensured that the employees do not feel exploited by the company. At the same time the management has to also ensure that they express their trust towards employees by offering them the required and expected rewards and entitlements.

b. Employee Values

i. Adaptability and Inclusivity

The value of adaptability can be seen as one of the most influencing factors in the organizations. The ability of any employee to adjust with his/her fellow colleagues drives not only that particular employee but also the overall team. Employees, when they join a new organization or a new team, often find it challenging to bond with the new colleagues. But the quality of ‘accepting people as they are’ is extremely necessary in such cases.

When it comes to solving the problems in the organizations, the value of inclusivity ensures every team member is given the required value and their opinions are equally respected. This provides a freedom for the employees to express their views and promotes the feeling of ‘every thought is precious.’

ii. Love, Care and Respect towards Subordinates

Staying competitive in business is obviously important. However, the value of loving, caring and respecting the subordinates is no less important and critical. Today, it can be seen that employees, either to mark their prominence, betray their subordinates by taking the credit or create hurdles for them in achieving their goals.

The values of love, care and respect for employees, will not only help their subordinates in achieving the goals, but in turn, they themselves will be benefitted in their work, as a sense of positivity will be running through their veins

4. Conclusion

As conveyed by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, ‘the human intent behind any act always matters’. It follows that employees should always posses the intent of accomplishing their tasks in the best possible way, while helping anyone whom they meet in their journey. Employees in the organizations, today, should not develop a sense of either “I am Everything’ or ‘I am Nothing’. Instead, they need to develop an attitude of ‘I am Something’, which induces the self-confidence within them and also at the same time reminds them that there is lot of scope for them to learn and grow.

Having these essential values makes the working environment very conducive to new ideas and innovations, where every employee does not only feel valued, but they work at their fullest potential in order to make their organizations reach newer heights. Thus, in this era of fierce competition, human values combined with right skills to work will not only make the organizations thrive and be successful, but also add much required strength to humanity and make this planet a much better place to live.

Introducing the Author:

Ankur Sharad Mahajan is 27 years young and is currently pursuing my MBA in Operations at K J Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai, India.

He is an Instrumentation Engineer and worked at Tata Consultancy Services before joining his MBA. His hobbies include writing articles and poems, chanting Sanskrit Hymns and playing cricket, table-tennis and chess. Participating in various article writing competitions has always been his core interest. He is happy to have availed the opportunity provided by SPANDAN of expressing his views on a topic that he believes is most relevant and important in the present context.

Notes:

  1. Permission of SPANDAN to reproduce this essay here is gratefully acknowledged.
  2. This essay is a winning entry in an Essay Contest organized by SPANDAN recently.

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“Carrots and sticks are well alive and well within the change canon, and some businesses forgo the carrots”

The dominant paradigm, particularly in today’s world, is that organizations are there to principally generate shareholder value and profit. When profit is threatened, laying off workers; and when profit is surplus and so is demand, then skill-scale-speed followed by HRs as an optimum variable in the recruitment, has become an uncontroversial norm. In both of these cases, human values take a backseat and that won’t do. While this archetype has been further reinforced by the pandemic, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate the same while visiting some of the catastrophic consequences in the 20th century that coercion and neglect of human rights had on organizations and nations at large. While the unions and strikes against some marginalisation and enslavement based on extreme structures, like that of the US Plantation Economy or the Atlantic slave trade, have resulted in the enactment of labor laws, formulation of code of conduct and structuring the blueprint of corporates, methods inculcating humanistic values including self-actualization, dignity and purpose are still a far cry.

Organizations might have evolved around structure, policy, culture and technology but the need to centralize business through human intrinsic values still holds relevance. Now is the time that we start devising structural plans to align the present day organizations with human values and most importantly take cognisance of its relevance in all kinds of setups.

The stepping stone to understand the relevance and eventuate the same would revolve around redefining the role of HRs, understanding the core values that remains the same irrespective of the changes in organizational set up, the importance of adhering to the human values in the ever changing world around AI and envisioning the implications on stakeholders outside the organization while formulating any plan.

HR = Human Resilience

Industry stalwarts like Ajeet Bajaj are now defining resilience as an important attribute of HR. In this ever changing dynamic and diversity of the business world, employees are expected to emerge as a winner no matter what. They are expected to manage boundaries, conflicts, transitions, and deliver sustainable results. In short, they are expected to be resilient along with holding competence. However, more than physical and mental strength, resilience is a person’s emotional response to the situation, says Former MD & CEO of National Skills Development Corporation. And to harbour that level of emotional resilience, we can’t expect this term “HR” to be merely referred to as “Human Resources” but there is a need to redefine it as “Human Resilience”, there is a need to see humans as more than just well-oiled machines. HR is a profession that identifies the potential of people, nurtures the talent, facilitates self discovery and incentivises talent multiplication. And all of this is imperative to an organization’s success.

The pandemic however has made HRs respond reactively rather than proactively that further libeled them as “Termination Trays”. To break this notion, it would require organizations to diverge from “profit maximization to value maximization” and to bring about the change, HRs remaining at the very apex of it. This would involve HRs to undertake fundamental research about people in the context of governments, societies, corporate sector, villages, districts, talukas, so that they have a shared vision and value with humans coming from all walks of life. This, in turn, empathetically guides them towards the path of passion-purpose-positivity and revert back the setback brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic through a knack of bringing out the best in them amid crisis situations. And in this process, the resilience and adaptability fostered by human values remains innate as a key functionality in the ongoing digital revolution, an era that surely demands even more inclusivity, employee engagement and innovation. In short, it demands us to be more human.

THE CORE REMAINS THE SAME!

In recent times, we have seen massive changes in the corporate scenario which is an amalgamation of reconstruction driven by the digital revolution. Needless to say, the dimension and scope of hybrid culture, remote work, and most importantly startups gets much larger.

Having said that, there is a greater need for organizations to enhance competitiveness everyday. But, the core principle that makes an organization competitive remains the same regardless of the dimension and its setup. It is mostly a reflection of human characteristics such as adaptability, ethics and resilience.

The increased number of startups and ventures has made the stakeholders enamoured and obsessed with the products and services but the rate of success still revolves around business intent, customer connection, and employee experience. This requires us to make work more relational than transactional. When investors at times push a firm to professionalize and strive to fulfil market demands, companies tend to take a superficial approach and neglect what truly matters to the venture. But the successful examples of ventures like Nike, Netflix, Study Sapuri has taught us that the root of successful businesses can always be traced back to Employee Experience, customer satisfaction and organizational spirit.

The most consistent and flexible of them has been Netflix. It worked relentlessly to retain its soul of helping best content creators around the world get a wider audience and became the best global distributor. It epitomizes the concept of human values and organizational profit going hand in hand while perfectly complementing each other.

And some recent examples like that of the Google employees demanding the tech giant to shelve plans to stifle dissent in China in 2018 show that organizations and employees are still willing to place human values above profit even for the stakeholders outside the ambit of organization. And in today’s world of automation and digitization, we surely need more such examples to set precedents and instill a sense of oneness.

CHANGED MANAGEMENT (AUTOMATION AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE)

While the world is leapfrogging towards Artificial Intelligence and Automation, it is incumbent upon us to practice it with utmost care and for the service of humanity and not against it. Some of the notable uses of AI for wildlife conservation or climate change through unmanned aerial vehicles and Machine Learning informatics are truly praiseworthy. But, we need to exercise wariness when we bring AI to the organizational setup. Taking a human centric approach would help the use of AI and automation intelligibly and proportionately. For that, it’s important that we have open and inclusive discussions about human values across diverse communities so as to avoid reinforcing unfair bias and create more innovative and representative uses of AI.

CONCLUSION

All of the three stepping stones including redefinition of HR’s role, Core values, Changed Management and automation help us to delve into the deeper trenches of the relevance and applicability of human values in present day organizations. To further augment all the three, there is a need to democratize businesses in order to envision the implications of our decisions that the stakeholders even outside the immediate sphere of an organization face. This would help us reevaluate some of the disastrous decisions including patent policy, jacking up the prices of life saving drugs and working against environmental protections that the organizations took lately in the light of shareholders profit.

While a transition to this self realization is surely difficult, observers suggest the main deterrence to the transition is our own mindset which is informed by a set of global narrative of how business is supposed to be. It has deepened the narrative of “dog eats dog” as a successful model of business. But, successful models like”Twin win” and “human chain” can be the silver lining to the ever evolving relationship between an organization’s success and the human values it professes.

And let’s remember that business and organization are the places where experience and insights came first and theories later. And in order to keep evolving and formulating new successful theories it is important to treat the significance of human values as being foundational, so as to solidify the ever evolving superstructures including business models and organizational cultures.

REFERENCES

www.investopedia.com/insights/history-of-us-monopolies

Harvard Business Review : https://hbr.org/2019/07/the-soul-of-a-start-up

Uses of AI: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery

SHRM, South Asia,

https://blog.shrm.org/sasia/blog/resilience-an-attribute-important-to-hr

  • Human Dignity and Welfare Systems: Chicago University Press
  • Wilson, On human nature: Harvard University Press
  • Humanizing Business : EY
  • Kelly Sikkema-Medium.com

https://medium.com/swlh/have-we-overlooked-our-human-values-in-the-business-of-valu e-creation-dc52ef8ff26c

Introducing The Author:

Shreya is 21 years young and a 3rd year Chemistry (Hons) student from Patna women’s college, Bihar. She has been active in the field of debating and speaking and has won awards at both national and international levels.

Some of these are:

1. “international conventional debate, Nimbus, DU” 2020

2. Jashn e abhivyakti, National debate competition, Satyawati college 2021
3. JIMS Kalkaji National Debate, 2021 
4. Evaluation contest winner, Toastmasters International 2020

Besides, she is an avid reader, writer with experience in the field of management, education and writing. She aspires to form a community of like minded people while always striving to learn more. 

Notes:

  1. Permission of SPANDAN to reproduce this essay here is gratefully acknowledged.
  2. This essay is a winning entry in an Essay Contest organized by SPANDAN recently.

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UNDERSTANDING HUMAN VALUES

Values can be defined as abstract and conceptual beliefs which act as a guideline in the lives of humans and influence the ways in which people and events are evaluated. The values of honesty, integrity, love, and happiness are termed as destination values whereas the values of health, status, intelligence are path values which help attain destination values.

While the destination values remain constant and act as a guiding light towards higher order goals, the path values are temporary and help achieve lower-order goals for humans. Humans are a mix of both types of values which are reinforced by the culture and environment in which they grow.

Where Do Values come from?

Values cannot exist in isolation from society. Every value can be referred to as a ‘goodness’ that exists in one’s mind, which in turn, exists as a sociometer construct that guides both collective and individual action.

Values can be formed biologically, determined by human needs, wants, and desires, and following one’s birth, they are formed from particular social groups, whose core values are determined by its purpose.

HUMAN VALUES AND ORGANIZATIONS

One can hardly glance at the front page of a newspaper without being confronted by a story of misconduct or unethical behavior in organizations. With this world becoming more and more profit centered, the relevance of value-based lens in this world of materialism is getting blurred.

For a vehicle to perform efficiently, it needs both an engine for power and a steering system for guidance. A similar analogy can be applied to any organization as well; the purpose or vision is the engine that propels it forward and the human values act as the steering system which guides it.

Just as it is important to be able to identify with an organization’s purpose, it is also important to align with its values. Organizations that authentically define their values show employees how to align their behaviors with the things that matter to the organization.

MAKING VALUES EFFECTIVE

An organization’s core values only have power when – and to the extent that – the humans in and around the organization feel a connection to them. When human values and organizational values overlap for employees, that’s when they are truly connected to their workplace.

The three ingredients that actually make values effective in an organization setup can be termed as follows:

Make Values Operationalized: Every organization can come up with a fancy set of value system that they follow. However, in order to make it effective it is important that similar values are reflected in the way the organization, its departments, teams and individual employees’ work on a day to day basis, propelled by actions and decisions.

Start from the Top: Leadership group of every organization must live up to the values that they stand for. Developing such value driven organizations always flows from the actions and decisions at the top level. An employee always idolizes his boss, so it is important that people at the top level are able to practice what they preach.

Communicate Values: Using content to communicate one’s value helps to develop a virtuous cycle. The content connects the organization to its values, keeping the values at the top of the mind for each team member when they are making decisions or crafting processes as a part of their daily tasks.

HUMAN VALUES AND RELEVANCE FOR ORGANIZATION STAKEHOLDERS

Values are an indispensable component of a healthy workplace culture. These provide a framework within which the organization can test its decisions, accomplish tasks, and interact with outside stakeholders.

Values and Organization: When organizations explicitly define their values and beliefs, they provide immediate clarity for decision making. Upholding human values helps create boundaries that show staff and clients where the organization is headed to.

A recent study conducted by the World Economic Forum highlighted how the organizations that nurtured a value system making it a part of their brand appeal without being single-mindedly focused on profit making were the ones which actually generated the most value and attained market leadership position.

The best example within the Indian context is that of the Tata Group. The guiding principles of the TATA group evolve from its rich value system and traditions of trusteeship as a way to redistribute the wealth created by the industrial society kept aside exclusively for the benefit of people at large.

Values and Leadership: Many leading thinkers and business practitioners advocate that true leadership is best expressed through the lens of values and beliefs of an organisation’s senior management, which serve to mould the broader organisation’s core identity and mindset. Values distinguish an able leader from a mere instructor.

As per the definition given by Busch and Murdock (2014), value-based leadership is considered as goal-setting, language-creating, problem-solving, and value-developing interaction, which is an integral part of any organization’s human values and very high ethical standards.

Following a value-driven path not only brings about clarity but also facilitates better decision making and goal accomplishment on the part of a leader. Value-driven decision making makes the leader standout and leave an everlasting imprint.

Values and Employees: Any business is as value-driven as the value systems of its individual employees. Value-driven employees not only turn into a long-term asset for the organization but also end up doing well in their lives and careers.

According to Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory, human needs can be broadly categorized under five categories. Of these, Self Actualization needs come at the top of the pyramid. This clearly highlights how an employee – being a social animal – wants much more than monetary satisfaction.

Various studies show how employees are positively impacted when involved in CSR initiatives or when they follow their value system, rather than when driven by greed. Human values can act as a guiding light towards a better professional and personal life for an employee.

FINAL REMARKS

Business Ethics is a recent buzzword in modern organizations which constitutes the different human values and goes much beyond the materialistic business objective of profitability and growth. As most of the organization decisions are based upon values, the long-term sustenance of any organization is not possible without a robust value system.

With the increasing needs of different stakeholders, the modern organizations demand a more value-based approach of decision making. Value alignment not only helps in better decision making but also help organizations develop a feeling of trust with external stakeholders – like customers – ultimately leading to improved business performance.

Human Values can be considered as the soul of any modern organization. These act like the binding thread that integrates the organization with individual employees leading to holistic growth of the organization and the associated stakeholders.

Introducing the Author:

Vasu Garg (22 Years) is a 2nd-year student at MDI Gurgaon specializing in the field of Finance and Marketing. Prior to this, he completed his B.com (Hons) from Hansraj College, University of Delhi.

Despite no past experience in a corporate environment as a full-time employee, he has gained a certain level of exposure to the corporate world through a range of internships with organizations like Nomura, PharmEasy, UrbanCompany, IIFL, etc.

In terms of hobbies, he is passionate about participating in social work and playing cricket.

Notes:

  1. Permission of SPANDAN to reproduce this essay here is gratefully acknowledged.
  2. This essay is the top winning entry in an Essay Contest organized by SPANDAN recently.

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Winners were recently announced in respect of a pan-India essay competition on Human Values in Present Day Organizations. The competition was organized by Spandan, a NGO which aims to spread the criticality of human values in management.

Vasu Garg of the Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram, Shreya Kumari of Patna Women’s College and Ankur Mahajan of KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai, were declared winners of the first three positions, respectively.

Spandan: A Brief Note

Spandan Foundation for Human Values in Management and Society (Spandan in short) originated as a result of the academic and research interest of Prof G P Rao. It had been formed about two decades back. It is supported by a small group of industrial organizations, management institutions and individuals.

The word Spandan is drawn from the Sanskrit language. It means heartbeat, vibration, pulsation and echo. As a concept, the term is meant to convey that faith in the basic goodness and intrinsic altruism of human beings have both always been the driving force for human existence, growth and development.

The Mission

Propagation and inculcation of human values in education, management and society.

The Vision

‘Humanising self through a communion of hearts’.

The Belief

Businesses deliver suboptimal results when their ‘Results’ are viewed as being at odds to their ‘Relations’ with different stakeholders. An optimal balance between ‘Results’ and ‘Relations’ needs to be struck; this alone can enable an organization to achieve its goals effectively and efficiently on a sustainable basis.

The team at Spandan strongly feels that the need of the hour is to create Functionally Humane Organizations – a committed group of human beings doing their best in the interests of various stakeholders.

The Essay Contest (2021-22)

The contest was steered by Satish Sekhri, a senior management professional. Scholars and students from more than 100 management institutes were invited to participate. Fifty-eight entries from different institutes were received for the competition.  

Of these, fourteen entries were short-listed and referred to a jury comprising Prof. Varun Arya, Founder Director of Aravali School of Ignited Minds, and Ashok Bhatia, a management thinker and author. The jury zeroed in onto five finalists. The criteria for evaluation were: The emphasis on human values, language and approach to the subject, and the practicality of the suggestions made.

The five short-listed essays were finally evaluated by Mr. Virender Singh, a former Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. Thereafter, the three winners mentioned above were announced at a virtual event in the presence of Chief Justice Mr. Virender Singh, Jagesh Khaitan, who is the chairman of Kuantum Papers and of  Spandan, and Anil Kohli, the NGO’s honorary secretary.

The winners were given cash rewards of ₹50,000, ₹30,000 and ₹20,000 respectively.   

Future Activities

A series of lectures by eminent experts in the field of human values are on the anvil. As and when the dates are finalized, necessary details would be available at the Spandan website: spandanfhv.com.

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If you are looking for a book imparting management lessons backed by some shimmering jargon and quotes from famous experts in the field adorning its pages, this one is bound to disappoint you.

In case you have a researcher’s attitude and are hoping to unearth some new facts or discovering new management theories, you will find nothing here that may excite you or whet your appetite for a scholastic understanding of the science and art of management. 

However, if you believe that the real world of management has lot of experiential learning to offer and that values and ethics play a crucial role in the sustained success of a business organization, you would be delighted to have come across this book, entitled Practical Lessons from Great Managers.

By the time you devour this plain vanilla offering, you would have realized that a formal management degree is but a launching pad of sorts. It is not essential to achieve success in one’s career. It may be merely desirable so as to advance your career prospects, especially given the corporate world’s preference for formal degrees.

The author of the book, Mr. Ramesh Subramaniam, offers keen insights into the practice of management. Based on his five decades long experience in the leather footwear industry and in industrial promotion, he shares his experiences in a very lucid manner. The narrative has an easy flow and touches upon various concepts, drawn from his observations about the kind of situations and challenges faced from time to time. The book is arranged in 14 chapters and runs into 104 odd pages. The presentation is not chronological in order. Rather, it takes up a concept and develops it across the entire span of his career.

Written to impart acquired knowledge, the book categorically deals with such facets of management like communication, strategy, integrity, customer relations, leadership, policies, innovation and the like. The underlying messages are very clear – the importance of training one’s mind, decision making based on sound values and cultivating a passion for continuous learning. This is akin to Stephen R. Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, exhorting managers to always keep their ‘saw sharpened.’

One of the typical practices which define a manufacturing mindset of yesteryears is brought out rather clearly in the book – that of employers taking a jaundiced view of employees taking leaves! Yet another is that of treating physical availability as a sign of higher productivity. In the current pandemic driven operations, where work-from-home has proved its value, albeit in other sectors of the economy, some of these notions may not be relevant.   

I confess I had the good fortune of working with the author of the book for close to five years when we were together at the Footwear Division of Tata International. He was thorough in whatever he took up, was a good teacher and always encouraged me to maintain two diaries – one for routine work, another to keep a meticulous record of new things learnt on the job.

If you wish to learn creative problem-solving in such organizations as Bata, Tata, FDDI and Sri City, this is precisely the book you are looking for. If you are curious to know how such organizations follow ethics and values and how managers therein resolve the dilemmas inherent in such cases, it is a must-read.

Going through a pragmatic book of this kind, penned by a management veteran, is a pleasure. It would surely be a worthwhile journey for those who aspire to survive and excel in the corporate jungle! 

 

(Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/1636401961
Flipkart: https://www.flipkart.com/practical-lessons-great-managers/p/itmaf7071c6a6eb8?pid=9781636401966)

      



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Can an organization’s human resource policies be so designed as to facilitate a bottoms-up approach to leadership? In other words, can it encourage and enable people at the lower rung to automatically assume a leadership role without anyone else egging them on to give their best?

It is well known that leadership is a function of at least two factors. The individual traits of an employee surely play a role. Another is the situation which could be such as to produce a leader. But for all the employees to spontaneously respond to a situation in an empathic manner in the face of an unforeseen crisis goes on to show that a share of the credit must also go to the design and implementation of conscious human resource policies.     

Consider the Mumbai Taj Hotel terror attack on the 26th of November, 2008. Not even a single Taj employee abandoned the hotel and ran away, but stayed right through the attack. They helped the guests escape. In the process, many employees died.

Eventually, this became an important psychology case study at Harvard. The result was a deep insight into the way in which the company’s recruitment policies had been designed. Three of the major factors which stood out have been as follows:

1) Taj did not recruit from big cities; instead, they recruited from smaller cities where traditional culture values still holds strong.

2) They did not recruit toppers; they spoke to school masters to find out who were most respectful of their parents, elders, teachers and others.

3) They taught their employees to be ambassadors of their guests to the organization, not ambassadors of the company to their guests.

For some details of what transpired during the terror attack and the Harvard study, please check out the following:

“The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj Hotel: Rohit Deshpande at TEDxNewEngland.”

The Tata group is well known for the values, integrity, transparency and fairness it practices while dealing with various stakeholders across all its business verticals. The response of its employees to the terror attack is merely one of the many manifestations of its enlightened human resource policies.  

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 A Tribute to Swami Vivekananda: Leader Extraordinary

“On the seventh of August 1941, in the city of Calcutta, a man died. His mortal remains perished but he left behind a legacy… that no fire can ever consume…”

That was the baritone, sonorous voice of Satyajit Ray in his documentary titled ‘Rabindranath’ created as a tribute to Rabindranath (a project mandated on Ray, the genius in film making, arts and literature, commissioned by Ministry of Culture, Government of India) on the occasion of the birth centenary of the another genius, Rabindranath Tagore the Nobel laureate poet, musician, novelist, dramatist, artist and philosopher. The first scene of the documentary depicted the last and final journey of Tagore to the burning ghat (crematorium).

Ray’s portrayal of Tagore began with the scene finale. But where do we start in our odyssey with the volcanic monk of India whose 150th birth anniversary we celebrated…

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Practising managers have had a look at it. Entrepreneurs – of the social as well as the anti-social kind – have gone through it. Management consultants have flipped through it. Eminent personalities have browsed through it. Academicians have devoured it.

Here are some of the comments received so far in respect of the book Surviving in the Corporate Jungle’.

“Behind the veil of humour and punch – there is a message. As the human drama unfolds itself in the corporate jungle, the best and worst of human natures battle for space.  Sure enough, the early warnings in the book might help the hapless to survive and the smart to succeed. However, buried in the crevices of the chapters lies a deeper secret. The secret of an inner tuning – developing an inner compass based on personal values that not just protects you but also guides you towards happiness…

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In the preceding post, we brought in focus the fact that the first step in the process of evolution is the act of creation of information, followed by the emergence of energy and matter. Their interaction creates the Cosmic Mind and the Cosmic Consciousness, which also comprises such other subsets as a human consciousness, or an animal’s consciousness, and the like.

Having explored different facets of Consciousness, we realize how woefully short our present methods of running businesses are when compared to the ideal situation we at the Conscious Enterprises Network (CEN) are aiming for.

Admittedly, there are silver linings to this dark cloud. These are in the form of several individuals and groups of people who are aware of this deficiency and wish to do something about it. Right from environmental activists to business groups which follow Plan B and aim for a triple-bottom surplus from operations, there are many disparate attempts to nudge others in the direction of a heightened consciousness. 

The Challenge

The challenge here is three-fold. One aspect is that of identifying and grooming leaders who vibrate at the same frequency, despite their operating in diverse fields of business. A bevy of leaders such as these would be like an orchestra which plays out a mellifluous piece of music even though the instruments are as diverse as a cello, a clarinet, a trumpet or a piano.

The second one is that of creating a leaderless movement so as to avoid getting into ego traps of any kind. One way to do so could be to develop a common Charter of Consciousness which is voluntarily agreed upon by those who wish to come on board. This is likely to promote a better degree of interconnectedness between like-minded organizations, thereby ensuring that the Consciousness Virus becomes the next thing to grab the attention of Homo sapiens.

The third one is to create a credible and transparent forum which would not only keep the flame alive but also facilitate an exchange of ideas, techniques and practices. The collective learning opportunity such a forum would generate can be readily imagined. The forum would comprise individuals/organizations which have already set the bar high by demonstrating that businesses can be run successfully based on a twin compass, a commercial one and a conscious one. 

Rewiring the Leaders

The task of inner rewiring of leaders can neither be abdicated nor delegated. Charity begins at home, as they say. The call for a transformation of this kind can only come from within. Unless this inner change takes place, those around cannot be expected to fall in line.  

Through the ages, our spiritual leaders have laid an emphasis on reengineering ourselves at the individual level. However, this does not get done by attending seminars and events; or, by reading up on the subject. These help us to receive good thoughts. But the challenge lies in applying these thoughts to our mundane lives, and then to act upon the same. The process at work here needs to follow the manasa-vaacha-karma process. In other words, the concept of Consciousness needs to seep into our thoughts, our words and then into our actions. It needs to become a way of living life; a way of being.

This is a long-term project, requiring tenacity and commitment.

Here are some tips which may help leaders achieve this objective:

  • Developing a circle of close friends and confidantes who happen to be virtuous souls; networking with like-minded persons/organizations on social media platforms.
  • Regular meditation, so as to remain connected with our inner selves.
  • Shifting our attention from ‘me’ to ‘we’; adopting a mindset of ‘I Am Something’ instead of ‘I Am Everything’.
  • As we proceed further, our Consciousness expands to a still higher dimension, where the qualities of generosity of heart, humility, compassion and kindness reach their epitome.
  • We start engaging with our people more effectively, capitalizing better on our human capital.

Spreading the Consciousness Virus

Technology, if deployed with a benign intention, could go a long way in assisting us to spread this virus far and wide. The intention needs to be that of serving and facilitating rather than controlling. Advances labeled as Industrial Revolution 4.0 can assist us in propelling ideas such as consciousness more efficiently and, hopefully, even effectively.

Herein lies the primary challenge. Technology can merely be a tool. It is necessary, but not sufficient. What it needs is for humanity to wake up to its spiritual obligations. Our civilization’s present state is that of abject hedonism. This has led to a vast majority amongst us who have become slaves to technology. We have become zombies for whom checking the latest update on our technical gizmo is the first as well as the last act of the day. Virtual relationships have become more important than real relationships.   

The endeavour needs to be that of creating a number of tribes and networks which propagate such thoughts and motivate people and organizations to start making a transition to a higher plane of consciousness.

Tribes which are created to achieve a common purpose and believe in the same set of values would readily collaborate with each other and bring about a synergy. Different tribes may be at different levels of enlightenment/consciousness but if the values and the goals are the same, better results would be imminent.

Technical tools like Artificial Intelligence can help us to keep inside a firewall of sorts, keeping us shielded from distractions which retard our spiritual awakening/progress – the realization of the ultimate reality, that we all are one. It could give us the deeper private space which we need to grow inwardly and to realize that one of the most pleasurable things in life is to give succor to those who need it.  

This is why at CEN we believe that conscious leadership starts with the awakening of a leader to what he/she really is. The journey has to begin with a single aspiration – that of being a knight in shining armour who rides his/her nimble steed of technology to rescue the triad of hapless damsels best described by Plato over two thousand years ago as Truth, Goodness and Beauty. All three are in serious trouble and could do with a daring act of rescue.

Dear reader, are you game? If so, let us look forward to a book by one of CEN’s co-founders, Dominique Conterno, which goes into further details of the concepts we have touched upon briefly in this series of posts!

(Inputs from Dominiuqe Conterno and Esther Robles, co-founders of Consciousness Enterprises Network (https://www.consciousenterprises.net) are gratefully acknowledged)

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