The leader, the rules and the community
The centre of Buddhist reverence are the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. They are not only subject to reference, but also serve as refuge for Buddhists to find calm and strength to face life's suffering. Religions, being bases in ancient times tend to use language that shrouds the everyday meaning from a contemporary reader. Transcribing (not translating!) these three terms into contemporary language reveals an important business lesson :
- Jewels and refuge: In a rough world of more than 2 millennia ago to find a place one could feel save for a foreseeable future was valuable as a precious stone. It also outlines the need for anybody to find a place of strength that can serve as the base for daily endeavours. The modern workplace should provide such a base. Does yours?
- Buddha: translated it means "Fully Enlightened One", looking at the historic Buddha you can transcribe it as: visionary leader. He had the insight what needs to be achieved, a vision how to get there and the charisma to rally his supporters to follow his cause. His vision provided one of the three strongest motivators for excellence: purpose. A leader is the first servant of the people he follows
- Dharma: "The teachings" In the corporate world that would be: the core values, the unspoken contracts, the business processes. Dharma is not a collection of rule books, but is what is actually lived. So that gold framed Vision and Mission statement in the board's office is worthless when corporate reality paints a different picture. Core values are like the constitution of an enterprise. Whatever you are asked to do (executive order) or process rules implemented need to be able to stand the scrutiny of being measured against the mandate outlined in the core values. I like IBM's core values a lot:
- Dedication to every client's success
- Innovation that matters, for our company and for the world
- Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendship?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
- Sangha: The "Community". IT is all enraged about social businesses. Kawasaki mused about The Art of Creating a Community, people form communities around simple things like "Getting a discount". We exist in communities: the family, the horde, the village, the college/university alumni, the soccer team etc. etc. Likeminded people help to maintain the level of motivation, encourage to stay on course and push further. They catch you when you stumble, praise you when you succeed, deepen your comittment to the cause. How does your enterprise form communities? A performance review for a team? Give incentives to a department? I haven't seen much of this, it is mostly the individual who stands in the limelight. Interestingly communities still form, just look at the success of enterprise social software. The need to belong is strong, harnessing it could be just that next level of productivity a company is looking for (a community still needs leadership). This can be a challenge when the office no longer serves as the cave where the horde assembles before the hunt
- Buddhaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
- Dhammaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.
- Saṅghaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi.