Spirituality in the Workplace LO5344

Doug Seeley (100433.133@compuserve.com)
04 Feb 96 17:59:52 EST

Replying to LO5301 --

Responding to Sandy Kettle in LO5293... and John Woods in LO5301

What a great thesis topic Sandy, I envy You. I hope that you keep us all
informed of some of the highlights of your work as it progresses.

I want to put my 2 cents into commenting on your topic and address your
questions. For example when you wonder about an " individuals
spirituality.. affecting outcomes in the organization.. ", in my
experience I have found that this is the right start and focus.

Nurturing the spirit in an organization is foremost via the nurturing of
the spirituality of its individuals, although when this is operative in
senior management it has an especially strong effect. But the point is
that what I have seen work is essentially from the bottom-up. Directives
from on high, and especially imposed beliefs or series of rah-rah slogans,
simply wont cut it because they constrain the freedom of individuals and
lessen their dignity. However, what I believe are additionally needed are
the rich interconnections and linkages between people (in a similar vein
to what Uri Merry and myself were discussing in LO & the New Sciences).

I think that John Woods in LO5301 homed in on the heart of the matter when
he wrote:

> " The fact is that when we
acknowledge each other as human beings, when we work at facilitating each
other's success to our mutual benefit and to the benefit of the customers
and society that we serve (and who provide the resources that by which we
can continue to do this), then we are building spirit in the workplace
without ever saying this in so many words. "

In my experience the crucial ingredients for nourishing spirituality are
personal integrity and mutual acceptance. By personal integrity, I mean
that which people think, say and do are completely consistent, in
alignment. Personal integrity is contagious; it inspires the same in
others who are in contact with it. I have been with atheists whose
personal integrity was very high, and with spiritual teachers whose
personal integrity was significantly less. For me, the atheist was much
more spiritual, and enabled the personal integrity of those in contact
with him to have their integrity shine on, without any verbalization or
suggestion from him. The mutual acceptance is crucial to the spread of
such integrity; if we let our attachment to the contents of our own minds
be the source of criticism of others, it cannot spread very well.
Moreover, such attachments keep us from seeing what is actually going on.

John further asks an important question " whether managers recognize ..
the relevance and usefulness of spirit.. ". Is this not a " trim tab "
(crucial pivot) for the transformation of the organization which we are
all discussing? As long as command and control mentalities dominate what
goes on from senior positions, it is hard to see how the conditions for
spirit in the workplace can be encouraged. By its very nature, command &
control constrain individual dignity and mutual acceptance between
personnel. This also brings up the issue of alignment between
individuals, decision-making managers and the corporate mission, an issue
which is for me a reflection of the internal alignment within an
individual with personal integrity.

When Jamie Flinchbaugh in LO5319 talks about soul-destroying conditions
within the organization, I am struck by the circumstances which prevent
alignment within the organization from happening. There often is a big
chasm between what is measured as important at the operations level, and
what is deemed important at the board and senior management level. There
are a number of technical and psychological reasons why this tends to take
place, but their effects upon individuals especially on the front lines,
can be very dispiriting. I believe that there are solutions to this
difficulty, but they involve dropping some conventional management

Having said the above, and our company having staked a lot of our
consulting business on this perspective, I am very aware of how difficult
achieving effective alignment is. Effectively accounting for the on-going
dynamics of corporation and its market demands, while incorporating this
in the financial measurement scheme and various decision-making is a
challenge. In my painful personal experience, it is mirrored by the
difficulty of achieving alignment between my true thoughts, my words, and
most of all, my actions. I have found it a lot easier to come up with
useful insights and understandings about organizations, the world around
me and even my own personal process, than I have been able to actually
implement these insights into my interpersonal relations in everyday life.

I suppose that thats why the spirituality buck always stops and begins

Doug Seeley:	100433.133@compuserve.com
			" Is it emergence all the way down? "