Buddha in the Board Room
Are you living life sip by sip or gulp by gulp? The first zentrepreneurs, the founders of the specialty company, The Republic of Tea, steeped into full flavor the Z concept of making business for positive social change on the planet, to actualize a life in which “what you do” is one with “who you are”. They say that “an entrepreneur creates a business, while a zentrepreneur creates a business and a life”. The fusion of one’s personal vision with one’s professional mission, grounded in activism and a holistic philosophy, will hallmark the next 1,000 years. Zentrepreneursim is surfacing across a wide spectrum of successful and purposeful businesses in North America.
According to the authors of Icconoculture, a book about upcoming trends; “If you think zentreprenuring is only for the disenfranchised and old hippies gone to seed, think again. An aging Generation X will carry proudly the do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-them-do-unto-you torch into the future. During their college years, they short-circuit their slacker image by volunteering enmasse to help those less fortunate. From coast to ivy-covered coast, college students log as many as ten to twelve hours per week tutoring, manning rape and suicide hotlines, teaching English, serving up dinner at homeless shelters, or being buddies to the physically or mentally challenged. The do-gooding experience coupled with the zentrepreneuristic mood of the millennium will have far-reaching political, social, and economic implications."
In a January 2004 article in Expert Magazine, entitled “Buddha Talks Business”, Jim Schaffer talked about what’s gone wrong with business today. Most of us, he says, “have tried hard to be good corporate citizens. We’ve dutifully absorbed the lessons we’ve been taught along the way, both in the course of doing our jobs as wells as from the pages of each year’s hot business books. The trouble is, not only is much of this wisdom just plain wrong, it may also be preventing you from being successful and could be ruining your health.” We have however seen a new awakening and new thinking to the way we do business. However these cutting edge principles and ideas for the 21st century actually stem from 2500 years ago, in the time of the Buddha.
If we simply slow down rather than speed up as we have all been programmed to do, your mind can operate from a place of peacefulness rather than hectic turmoil. With a quiet mind and a curious, open heart, you’ll able to act more swiftly than your adrenaline-addicted competitors. Having to be in control all the time isn’t just a trait as part of your astrological sign, or a personality dysfunction inherited from one of your parents. It’s considered one of the rules of the game. The perception is if you’re in control, you are in the driver’s seat and you can control your destiny. Or so we think. However to surrender, should not be confused with defeat or failure.
Being in the flow has now been proven to be far more effective in making business decisions. Besides, controlling is time consuming and a waste of energy. Pay attention, observe, and act rather than react in concert with what is already happening. Stay in the present, because that’s all there is. The past is gone in a heartbeat, the future is entirely unknown, so all there is NOW, and there is tremendous personal power in knowing how to use the present moment to the fullest.
Making Decisions Zenfully
How many times have you gone ahead with a decision in your business that you regretted? In hindsight you say I should have trusted my gut. Your gut talking to you is really a feeling, and more importantly something called intuition. I know researchers say women have it more than men do, but the truth is we all have it. It’s just that men try to think analytically rather than emotionally, so we don’t like to use it in the business world. We have been trained at University business schools, by books, and experts in the field to use strategy, tactics, and technique rather than our own intuition and trust in the process.
Contrary to popular belief your business will not be easier to run by taking a crash course on time management. There is no such thing as time management; it really boils down to how we choose to process our lives. You need to be aware of your own bio-rhythm. Some days are diamonds, some days are gold. It’s perfectly natural to wake up on Monday and feel totally rested and feeling at your peak. You approach your business that day with enthusiasm and gusto. Not knowing that on Wednesday morning you feel the direct opposite. It’s a simple matter of becoming aware of your own high and low energy cycles, and working with them. Be good to yourself and the world will take care of itself.
Take time out to literally to “smell the roses”. Make sure you celebrate on anything you have accomplished, no matter how small. Celebrate in the moment; don’t wait for a party or gift to arrive. Learn to savor daily tasks and always come from an attitude of gratitude.
Be aware that your business will always run in cycles, up and down, but you don’t have to be like an empty raft in a ten foot swell. Stop striving and try to stay on an even keel and you’ll plateau rather than rise and fall with every issue or challenge. Besides you are far more effective as a calm, rational leader who is in the flow, rather than an over reactive, compulsive and controlling CEO (Chief Emotional Officer).
The business world is moving at the speed of light to catch up with advanced technology. It should be the reverse, but it’s not, and so there is tremendous pressure that is forcing companies to buy into this frenzied belief system that if they don’t stay in the cyber race or even ahead of their competitors they’ll lose. In the new world of doing business, high touch will replace high tech as the single most important criteria for change. It’s already starting to happen. The GenEx generation is starting to discover that they can’t have intimate relationships through e-mail, cell phone conversations, text messaging, and chat rooms; they are starting to feel alienated, disenfranchised, and missing intimacy. So they are returning to religion, to Buddhism, to anything that will give them a connected feeling.
Clients and customers are no different. They don’t want to be put on hold anymore and wind up in voice mail hell. They want to talk to a real person on the line, not a digitally mastered voice. They want to talk to a live body when their order at Amazon can’t be found. They want to talk to a real person about their phone bill…press one. press two…press three…doesn’t cut it anymore. Everybody wants somebody to talk to, that’s why there will always be demand for open line radio shows.
No matter how efficient we become, human contact and relationships will drive the business world. Make sure you connect with your clients or customers on a personal level and “listen”. Avoid corporate jargon and confusing rhetoric to defend your case.The old adage of the customer always being right has given way to arrogance and rudeness. When a customer hangs up, you either have a friend for life or a disgruntled bull loose in a china shop. Which one is going to hurt you the most?
Make your business and your life clear of judgments. Who made you Judge Judy anyway? Stay open and keep learning as long as possible. Don’t gossip or hold on to judgments. Your business relationships come down to a fundamental issue of trust and integrity. Therefore you need only ask one question of anyone; what part of this is a lie?