Bring Meaning to Work and Purpose to Spirituality
It’s an ironic fact of life that most of us chose to ignore the truth that soon or later our bodies will wilt away when we die. In our efforts of preserving our bodies for as long as possible, we unwittingly neglect to nurture our spirits that outlive our bodies. Is it really such a good bargain? Most people would answer no logically but go on living as though it was the only truth known to man.
In the business world, we label someone as ‘leaving dead bodies on the side’ if she or he attempts to introduce changes that are so unpopular that coercive force must be applied in order to accomplish it. Corporate downsizing is a classic but by no means the exclusive or most prevalent example. In fact, every corporate manager experiences it every day as he or she tries to get the job done despite mirage of complaints and deep dissatisfactions by their underlings. Are the business managers being too cruel? No doubt many of them are. Is it the only or even primary cause of such misery? Most unlikely. There is something to be said about the herd mentality of preserving live bodies at all costs, even if it meant living with dead spirits, which permeate the corporate world and human society like dead woods in a well preserved forest. Nature has a way of turning such dead woods into fertilizers for the sake of greater good. How about the human forest in the business world? Many of a once upon great business have gone down under the weight of the dead wood. Is that how nature works with the human forest? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Another possibility is that humans are equipped with the ability to self-police its dead wood and lift the spirit from dead waters. As crazy as it might sound, the corporate manager might very well play such a role even if he or she may not be aware of it. When he or she imposes certain disciplinary actions on her or his underlings and/or exercising influencing skills on her or his peers and even superiors, he or she is not only exercising his or her own will but nature’s tendencies to prune itself of dead woods so that new sidling may receive its fair share of the sun and nutrition under the heavy canopy of the deep forest. For sure, few managers do the bidding on behalf of nature consciously. The accumulative effect remains the same. It does make a huge difference in terms of effectiveness and efficiency if they are conscious of their actions. Most managers do good by chance and destiny. The exceptional few do so by intention and purpose. Good companies have many managers of the former and great companies are stabled by the latter. That is the wisdom which Jim Collins was trying to impart in his best seller, ‘From Good to Great’. The deep humility of a so called level five leader comes from the realization that nature is more mysterious, beautiful and meaningful than human consciousness could ever reach. The uncompromising professional will comes from the commitment to be an agent of realizing such mystery, beauty and meaning creatively and resolutely. It requires her or him to intentionally subject the finite life span of our bodies in service of the eternal spirits. Long live the spirits, even as our bodies wilt and give away to future generations.