Spirituality in business 101
I have started writing this article 10 times, each time starting over because I felt I missed out on something important. Spirituality is such a big word with as many definitions as there are people. On top of that what has it to do with business?
So I will start by a quick overview of how I define spirituality and try to make a global picture of how it applies to business in general.
My Definition of Spirituality
Often used interchangeably with religion, spirituality, I think, is based on a broader set of concepts that includes religions. It brings in the notion of a system of belief that rests on the notion of a higher power. You can call that greater power God, collective unconscious, universal energy or the ultimate mathematical fractal formula that holds everything together. Spirituality then becomes a set of principles, concepts or notions to be followed as best as possible. On a personal level the pursuit of these principles, and not necessarily their attainment, is what makes one grow spiritually. Notions such as universal love, compassion, harvesting for future generations are some examples of what I think are spiritual concepts. The pursuit of these goals brings you closer to the essence of what life is. It implies the concern of a greater good for all.
This is not a perfect definition, I am not an expert, but I would say it can be used for the purpose of this discussion.
So as far as business spirituality can take many forms:
Environmentally conscious companies, human resource politics where people are valued, and social investment, all share some sort of spiritual concept. Thinking for future generations, being concerned of the well-being of employees or giving back to society through social initiatives, all express the idea of doing good without any direct or at least obvious outcome for the business. This refers to the part of spirituality where one acts for a greater good.
A business is not just a place where you sell “stuff” made by “carbon life forms” anymore. We are in a time where doing business is intrinsically harder. Workforce mobility and availability, the future of this planet, societal peace, world peace, and the environment, must now all be taken into account for businesses to succeed. Which came first: spiritual consciousness or environmental factors? Does it matter? The bottom line is that businesses are changing and they include some kind of spiritual concepts in their business plans.
The bottom line is that spirituality pays off
Companies with one sort of spiritual implementation or another tend to do better than those who don’t. (Research on Spirituality and the Bottom Line).
Now it is not only profit that drives companies. People and our planet are in the equation for success. I will try, in subsequent posts, to show how and why spirituality in business is important to get to the “triple bottom line”: Profit, People and Planet.
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