Spirituality in the Workplace LO5405

William J. Hobler, Jr. (bhobler@cpcug.org)
Tue, 6 Feb 1996 18:33:15 -0500

Doug Seeley Wrote

>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.
<<Snip Snip>>
> 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.

This also has been my experience. I do have another ingredient I would
add -- that of commitment to ethical relationships with all involved in
the business. The commitment to test every action and every utterance
against the metric *fairness*. Customer, supplier, employee and investor
must win -- must gain some of their fair due.

In this cynical society it is unpopular, in some venues, to talk of being
fair or ethical. IMHO in general our society is not mature enough to
discuss being fair on a broad scale, we are too unwilling to see the other
side of the issue. We are too polarized as a society.

However, in the small group of the 'Board of Directors' and the Chief
Operating Officer and his/her direct reports, and these direct reports and
their direct reports etc., etc., dialogs concerning being fair and acting
ethically are certainly possible.

I think that in these small groups we are able to discuss and build the
interpersonal trust needed to permit reasoned dialog about sensitive
issues. In small groups we can learn to trust, or distrust, every member
of the group and (this is critical) to test our assumptions and
perceptions with the group. That is we can learn together.

Why is it important to discuss fairness or ethics? IMHO these are the
expressions that most closely align with our individual spiritual
experience. We learn what is fair very early on in our lives, and change
this notion for many years. In our cynical world we often do things or
say things that run counter to our early notion of being fair, and because
of them we often cause ourselves spiritual pain. Sometimes we don't even
perceive why we are so uncomfortable with what we have done, a sign of
great separation from our own spirit. This separation drains our lives of
meaning and joy, it is debilitating.

Why not discuss religion instead of fairness or ethics? Because many of
us carry too much negative baggage around with respect to religion. Even
the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam in chronological
order) often cannot conduct a civil dialog. In this forum Buddhist
teachings are quoted more often than any of the Abrahamic teachings -- and
I like that -- and these quotations are accepted. In some venues this
dialog would incur wrath. It is often simply non-productive to broach
religion in large diverse groups.

Noting above would stop me from being thrilled by working with an
enterprise, collaborating in a dialog at all levels to work through their
concept of fairness and ethical conduct at all levels. I think that the
growth and change in the individuals involved, including myself, would be
fun to experience.

Change the subject ---

It is my perception that businesses run by and run in line with
Mormon principles are more 'spiritual' in culture. Is there any
correlation between their spirituality and their success (or lack of
success)? While I have the inclination to test this perception I am
not afforded the time. Does anyone have any thoughts in this

~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's better at sea  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
bhobler@cpcug.org                         Still a Submariner
     William J. Hobler, Jr.               Preferably Bill
Learning is the heat that keeps organizations flexible,
   it is like the fierce flame that keeps steel molten.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   ~ ; )  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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