Tools to Overcome Organizational Dysfunction
In this chapter we will explore alternative belief systems that can help us transform dysfunctional workplace environments into thriving and successful companies that can not only enhance shareholder value but also maximize employee well-being and improve customer service. Specific tools and their application will be discussed.
Bringing Love into the Workplace
Fear can be a potent motivating force, but over the long-term the effects on human capital can be damaging. Fear does not encourage employees to make the creative responses necessary to ensure survival of the business.
All organizations exist for a purpose, a mission or Dharma. A fear-based management system considers solving the problem for which the industry or company is founded, a threat to its existence. The fear-based response is to hold onto power by preventing meaningful solutions from emerging. This is especially problematic in distorted industries such as accounting, financial, energy, healthcare and communications.
It is very demoralizing for innovative and idealistic employees and management to be prevented from solving problems. The result is high turnover and stress-management-problems.
If our belief systems empowered us to view the underlying energy of the universe as love and compassion, we could release our fear of change and understand that our organizations Dharma or mission may be broader than we initially realized.
If you reach into your pockets and pull out a dollar bill you will notice the words emblazoned on the back In God We Trust. While our founding fathers created a separation between church and state they never envisioned daily life without spirituality. Their words, on the back of our currency, are reminding us that there is a higher authority we must serve, and it is not the dollar bill.
Management theories of the month will be promoted and management books will be written, but real change will not occur until we bring spirituality back into our daily lives and back into the workplace where it is desperately needed.
We need to move away from politically correct management, which is immobilized, from taking any meaningful action to empowerment of our HR Managers to try new approaches.
Yoga is a non-denominational approach to delivering spirituality back into our daily lives by helping us to change our
An alternative, and more long-term solution would be to change the motivation from fear to love. Love based motivation will create a sense of loyalty and purpose and with energy levels that can be sustained.
In the earlier chapter we discussed the Loving Kindness Meditation. I use this meditation before I am meet with a prospective client or business prospect. I meditate on how I can help or serve the customer. By shifting the focus away from whats in to for me, to how can I help, I let go of the egos need to push a sale. It is liberating to let go of that pressure to close, and always have an answer to a customers problem or concern. The Loving Kindness approach lets you open up and really listen to your customers so you dont force solutions. Through discovery, listening, and concern you can develop a strategy to really address your customers needs.
By calling on your higher self, you can also tap into the cosmic computer and get information that will be helpful to your customers. I also use the Loving Kindness meditation with employees; it is particularly effective in motivating employees.
We are very much a touch-deprived society. The human being was designed to live in groups with a great deal of physical interaction. We have become isolated even though we live together in condensed metropolitan areas. A study was recently done among various cultures regarding the number of physical touches between couples. It is no surprise to find that our culture is at the bottom of the list. Just go to any health club and you will see people paying large sums of money to have some interaction with their trainers. Our consulting firm Yoga for Business conducts seminars at corporate locations using hand on energy healing as a way to encourage touch and facilitate meditation.
Just as we solve problems in our dreams we can solve problems through meditations. In addition meditating in a group promotes cohesion and group problem solving. This is because the quieting thoughts of the group deepen the meditative experience and the goals and vision of the group is magnified during the meditation.
There is a Karmic reason why we are in each others lives. Yoga and meditation help us to see the bigger picture and view conflict with more compassion.
Survival Tips for Employees
There are many strategies you can use to own your own power in an employee/employer relationship. Primarily it means demanding to be treated with respect and dignity from your employer. My first job out of college was at a small accounting firm. The owner of the firm, a cigar chomping old codger, would use terms like stupid idiot, God dam a hole when he was reviewing subordinates work. I was fired the day after tax season ended, just before I was to receive my tax season bonus, because I had been preparing some tax returns on the side and the owner of the firm was threatened by it.
I also recall how a national firm would fire individuals by calling them over a loudspeaker on April 16. They were dismissed and asked to pack their things and leave. I had also worked in a Big five firm for a manager who was very driven. I always knew he would someday make partner, which he did. Being partner was his highest aspiration. Several years later I learned that he had committed suicide. He had tied his self-image and self worth entirely to his job and his company when he could have put spirit and his family first.
In my own family I witnessed the demise of my father at the hands of the U.S. Postal Service. My father had a learning disability and was proficient at his sorting job but when a new postmaster arrived, he wanted to bring in his own team so he deliberately put my father on the cash window. My father had a nervous breakdown and had to be admitted to a psychiatric facility for depression. Only electric shock Therapy was able to bring him out of this state, but soon after that he was diagnosed with Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases. His life was cut short by many years. We have all heard about people going postal, in most cases the destruction is targeted inward.
My own experience in the accounting profession has opened my eyes to the fact that many professions have the most unprofessional behavior and management practices. To overcome this there are a number of techniques you can use to Own Your Power:
My website is dedicated to improving communication between employees and management. It will be a forum where complaints are aired amongst peers, and where support could be given to employees that stand up to tyranny. It could also be used to develop appropriate standards of behavior for the workplace environment. If you have had an incident you would like to report please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Survival Tips for Employers
Fear can be an effective motivational tool. It motivated the U.S. to devote resources for the space program and put a man on the moon. Fear can also help companies achieve certain short-term goals but the continuing use of fear can be damaging to an organization and society.
There is actually a hormone associated with fear. Studies have been conducted on mice where one group is given electrical shocks and then removed from the room. As soon as the new group arrives they are overcome with fear. If a group or groups of individuals in your organization are subject to stress, that energy will be transferred to others in your organization.
Love is a much more powerful long-term approach to employee motivation.
For employers I recommend a loving kindness meditation in which you ask How can I serve, how can I help my employees evolve to become the best they can be. This involves shifting the focus from what can they do for me, to what can I do to help them.
I recommend a holistic approach in which we view the employee as a whole being including a personal life, talents, aspirations, volunteer worker, parent, son, mother, etc. When we connect with another person at this level the dialogue becomes more meaningful. The employee will recognize the employers concern immediately and will respond by giving more of him or herself. The results are improved performance. The employee then uses the same approach for customers and fellow employees. The loving kindness virus will spread quickly throughout the organization.
Relationships are built on compassion, care, trust and respect. Top management will set the tone for the organization. I recommend a very broad and purposeful mission statement, which everyone in the organization should be familiar with. I also believe it is very important to have corporate leaders inspire and motivate the troops in the organization with a vision and purpose that is grander than just winning market share. Leaders should be involved in volunteer programs and should encourage company-wide participation.
Leading through periods of turmoil and change require honesty, a characteristic that has been lacking in most of our corporate leaders and politicians. The 9-11 attack on America has helped us to focus on leaders who are honest, who make sacrifices and can instill loyalty in employees
Developing an excellent customer service base requires having all employees focusing on How can I help, how can I serve our customers. The best way to begin to inspire this attitude is at the very top of the organization with top-level executives and managers. This will ensure that the organization is committed to this philosophy.
With workplace violence increasing, it would be a good time to implement a policy designed to take a spiritual approach to job termination. Often times an employee is terminated in the most insulting and injurious manner. The current model is designed to make the employee feel absolutely worthless and not to be trusted. Some employees are escorted out of the building when they are given notice.
An enlightened manager would understand that we are all connected and there is a reason for us to be in each others lives. A termination is often a blessing in disguise. If the company was truly interested in helping the individual develop and pursue their talents, than a termination could be handled in a loving way by redirecting the individual towards his Dharma. In Yoga we believe that each individual has a purpose just as every organization has a mission. By regular Yoga practice we can uncover our true path and help others find theirs. For under-perfoming employees we can also help them to get more focused on service than on their ego, which can eliminate the need for a termination in the first place. Ultimately it is important to acknowledge that the organizations mission and goals should be subordinated to spirit, the family. Organizations that support the family, country and spirit will empower employees and improve and enhance management/employee relationships.
In this chapter we discussed tools, which can be used to overcome organizational dysfunction. We approached the problem from the perspective of the employee and employer. In the next chapter we will discuss synchronicity and how organizations can help promote individual intuition and enhanced decision-making.
Chief Humor Officer
Until our business organizations can move away from a dictatorial forms of corporate governance, I recommend that the Board of Directors appoint an independent Chief Humor Officer who will function much like the fool did in the court of the Kings of the Middle Ages. The CHO will be able to expose when the Emperors has no clothes without having to worry about having his head chopped off.
© 2007, Bruce Eric Van Horn
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. - Hippocrates
Author, CPA, MBA and yoga instructor Bruce Van Horn founded Yoga for Business, Inc., a company devoted to organizational and individual wellness. He presents a daily Yoga Workout routine that provides a complete physical, mental and spiritual workout. He is the author of Yoga for Prostate Health and Yoga for Men, designed for all levels of experience with yoga.. He has renamed (Asanas) positions in Yoga using terms from business to help you identify with the movement and focus your attention. He is the Chair of the Advisory Board for the Center for Complimentary Medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Bruce also leads a volunteer yoga program designed for cancer patients and healthcare workers at Beth Israel Medical Center. He lives outside New York with his wife Michelle who is a Reiki Master. Bruce has two daughters who have asked that he refrain from headstands at the town pool. His website is www.yogaforbusiness.com If you have any questions, feel free to write: E-Mail.
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