Re: Soul LO1141

Susan Kaplan (
Wed, 10 May 95 18:54:49 EDT

Replying to LO1132 --

I would like to add my two cents to the discussion on soul and
spirituality in organizations.

Personally, now that I am 1)in my mid-forties; 2)finished with a long
period (over a decade) of personal growth and exploration through
psychotherapy; and 3)well-trained by the NTL Institute for Applied
Behavioral Science I find myself very much in tune with my own soul and my
own spirit and spirituality, as well, also, as my personal religious
roots. I believe this is truly the synergistic result of 1 - 3, above.

This, however, is private (except for the 1200 people on this list!). I
don't go around talking about it much except to those I know are

I do concur wholeheartedly that organizations have spirits and souls, and
should, in the best of all possible worlds, be places where both
individual, kindred, and organizational spirits and souls are nurtured and
flourished. However, and I think this is a big one: these are words that
are fraught with interpretation and mis-interpretation. In the government
we certainly don't talk about them. So to introduce them as concepts,
even the baggage surrounding the words is very likely to scare people off,
if not turn them off completely when they suspect you may be attempting a
religious conversion.

So I think what we have to focus on is incorporating the values and
beliefs, the ethos, I suppose, in the organization that allows this
spiritualness to unfold. By that I mean honoring commitments, seeking
collaboration and participation, being in the present, listening,
reflecting, celebrating--the whole gamut. Let's just not get caught up in
the words. I prefer to keep my soulful conversations private but to live
the values that comprise my soul.

Susan Kaplan Budget Officer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration US Dept. of Commerce, Washington, DC