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Ethics excellence


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Ethics excellence

  1. 1. In 1993 I founded MART, a livelihoods and rural marketingEthics, Excellence and the agency, as a value based organization. Today, 16 years later, we are a family of 50 dedicated professionals servingWorld of Management rural India. We are a flat, non hierarchical totallyBy Pradeep Kashyap, Founder & CEO, MART transparent organization – no designations, every staff member knows each other’s salary or the fact that we submit detailed, itemized consultancy budgets to clients. We are a team based organization where all decisions are taken through consensus. We are an employee owned organization where on completing 10 years of service every employee automatically become a partner in the firm. Let us now come to Ethics. To begin with let us try and understand what ethics is? Ethics is the application of spiritual principles to human behavior. So ethics involves living by (and not theorizingWe all live by some principles. I was fortunate to have met about) the highest principles applicable to human behaviormy spiritual guru nearly 30 years ago who inspired me to on a daily by high principles and values. Values inspire in us thehighest that we should do. It is the job of a leader like a What are Principles?spiritual Guru or a CEO to inspire in us these values.A little background about me and my organization MARTwould help, as a number of examples in this article will befrom my life.For the first 20 years of my professional life I worked with 3multinational companies in India–Exide from the UK,Bosch from Germany and Toyota from Japan. During thisperiod I acquired fair amount of material wealth andcreature comforts. But the inner richness was missing frommy life and a hollow feeling kept bothering me. The year Iturned 40, I decided with the guidance of my Guru that I Principles are guidelines for human conduct. They aremust change the course of my life. I voluntarily opted out fundamental and universal because their source is theof the corporate sector and since I wanted to understand spirit. These principles have come to us from rishis andthe social sector I joined a large NGO at just 10% of my last sages who received them over centuries in meditation,drawn salary. I have been working for 20 years in the rural through dreams and as visions.sector and have not regretted my decision even once. Sure,there have been times when I was not making enough Ethics can be understood at two levels. Steven Covey in hismoney but this was more than compensated by the inner book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ calls themsatisfaction I derived from my work. I have had the Personality ethic which refers to the development ofprivilege of meeting some of the best minds in the world personality, and Character ethic which focuses onand seen some great and highly innovative work. evolution of human character.I too have created some innovative models of What is Personality Ethic & Character Ethic?development, particularly in the area of marketing. Had Icontinued in the corporate sector I would have probably Personality ethic includes public image, attitude, skills andbecome the CEO of a large MNC but would have continued techniques. The effort here is to develop a more pleasingto do repetitive and dissatisfying work. I am glad I made and attractive personality with the objective of achievingthe decision I did. better social acceptability and greater material success. This is the job of psychologists and personality grooming experts who teach you better communication skills, better
  2. 2. social manners and personality grooming methods. These Spiritual dimension is your core, your centre, yourare secondary traits and not primary like character. commitment to your principles. Meditation,Personality ethic results in quick fix solutions without contemplation, enquiry into who am I are ways to remainaddressing the fundamental causes of human behavior. I in touch with the timeless core.will not be focusing on personality ethic. Dreams as Our Inner GuideMy concern is with character ethic which involves basicprinciples of effective living – integrity, humility, courage, When your external action reflects your internal code youfairness, patience and simplicity. These are value based are in alignment with your principles. This is how you gainmotives or ‘Lighthouse’ principles that govern human integrity. Integrity is important because without it you aregrowth and happiness. It is important to understand that living with a sense of division within yourself. You will knowthese fundamental principles do not change. Principles do when you are not acting in alignment with your moral codenot react to anything; they do not depend on the behavior because your conscience will remind you of the differenceof others. between what is ethically right and how you actually behaved. The voice of conscience is so delicate that it isPersonal power that comes with principle centered living is easy to stifle it: but it is also so clear that it is difficult tothe power of self aware, knowledgeable proactive mistake it. When we refuse to hear the voice of conscience individual, unrestricted by in our waking life, it often appears as a critic in our dreams the attitude, behavior and at night. Dreams often show a mirror to our behavior by action of others or by any becoming critical of us. For example if we have told a lie in circumstances. Gandhiji waking life our dream may create a situation where we are never held any position of reprimanded for telling a lie. We wake up feeling guilty power in the government knowing well that we have tried to cheat on ourselves. Or in waiting, but he wielded when we are going through an anxious phase in our life we more power in politics dream of reaching late for an exam or missing a train. than anyone else because Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious. If we record of his principle centered our dreams and make the effort to interpret them they will living. We accord the guide us how to conduct our lives ethically. highest respect to aspiritual master, even political leaders and royalty bow to When we make any commitment it is our conscience thatthem, because they are centered in universal principles. ensures that we keep it. So when we set a personal orHighest power rests with the person with the highest professional goal we must make a promise to ourawareness. conscience and set out to achieve it. Trust is cornerstone of every strong business relationship. Without trust yourWhat are Spiritual Principles? prospective customers won’t buy from you, your teamThe most fundamental principle of effectiveness is the mates won’t listen to you and your family and friends willPrinciple of Personal vision: For this we need to know ‘Who run away from I’. We should understand that we are not our bodybecause if we were then which part defines us –legs, hands, Information, Knowledge & Wisdombrain or the heart? What happens to people with heart A man of wisdom is a man of ethics. But how do wetransplants? Do they cease to be or do they assume the become wise? I will explain in the next few paragraphs howperson of the donor? Further we need to understand that information leads to knowledge and finally to wisdom.we are not our feelings. If we were then which feelingdefines us? We are not our moods. We are not even our Information is something we read or hear about. Forthoughts. If we were then how come we continue to exist example we dial railway enquiry to get the timing ofin deep sleep when there are no thoughts? And the very Shatabdi from Jaipur to Delhi or the TV news informs usfact we can think about these things separates us from that it rained in Delhi yesterday. Information is essential tothem. It is self awareness that enables us to stand apart conduct our daily activities smoothly. But it does notand examine even the way we “see” ourselves. The impact ethics in anyway.continuous effort has to be to expanding our selfawareness which also helps to find our inner centre. Our But when information is analyzed and understood itcentre is where we deal with our vision and values. becomes knowledge. This is the purpose of education. In school and college teachers impart information and then
  3. 3. encourage us to use the tool box of analysis to transform know. Intuition is not what can be taught, you develop it oninformation into knowledge. So knowledge can be taught, your own. The word itself means to learn (tuition) fromyou can acquire it from external sources. And knowledge is within (in).what you know you know. For example I know that I cansolve a particular mathematics problem because I learnt Our subconscious minds are our link to the wisdom of thethe analytical tools in school. universe (the collective unconscious as described by Jung). Our conscious thinking is so limited, but our subconsciousWhen knowledge is integrated with intuition, it becomes thinking when connected to the unconscious is infinite.wisdom, your experiential knowledge. Analysis asdescribed earlier and intuition are not substitutes of each Why is Intuition important for managers?other, they are complimentary. At a management school you learn techniques andWe don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it after a concepts to develop your analytical brain. In real life thejourney of life that no one can take for us. Each one of us executive does analyze, but he also needs to synthesize forhas to undertake our own journey. The ultimate which he needs experience and intuition which as wedestination of your life, if there is one is wisdom. Wisdom is discussed earlier, cannot be taught. So the single biggestthe highest and deepest degree of knowledge, insight and challenge for a corporate leader is to develop the power ofunderstanding. It provides you with the broadest intuition because intuition is the critical differentiatorperspective on life. They say when you find your wisdom between a good and a visionary leader. Ray Croc recalls inyou are living in the ‘light’, the light of the spirit. his memoirs that he had this strong intuition that he should buy the then unknown, few, franchised McDonald stores.Wisdom is not a state to be achieved but rather a state to There was no logical or obviously analytical reason for hisbe recalled. You arrived on this planet with the boundless decision. Today, we all know, it is the largest retail chain inwisdom inherent in all human beings; you only need to the world.access that place within you that connects you to theinfinite divine source. You are potentially as wise as the As we grow in our careers knowledge alone is not enoughBuddha or Aristotle-they have simply accessed places to make complex decisions. Decisions such as should thewithin themselves where perhaps you have not journeyed. company enter the European or Asian market? Should weThat is why it is said we are all born a potential Buddha. partner a local company or go it alone? Should we hire local managers who understand the local culture or send outWisdom is not intelligence. Wisdom is much more. It is the managers from the parent company who know thehighest level of emotional, spiritual and mental evolution working of the company well? These are decisionswhere you synergize your deepest understanding with your concerning the future and knowledge alone is not enoughdeepest everyday actions. to act. The manager needs to have intuition or insight to foresee the future.What is intuition? How to develop Intuition? You can develop intuition through viewing issues holistically. Intuition is enhanced through varied experiences and relationships. Emotion is a strong element for developing intuition. Story telling stirs emotion. Intuition is developed by exploring and sensing beyond what is visible and audible (sleep over things, sometimes intuition comes through dreams). Intuition can be developed by paying attention to our dreams. The language of dream connects us to our unconscious where all knowledge of the universe preexists. Intuition is developed through total involvement with the work. Women are more intuitive because they are moreIntuition, extra sensory perception (ESP) or insight is when emotionally involved in work. Contemplation, reflection,we see things other people do not see. It is the ‘Aha’ or the meditation and long walks help the mind become quiet. A‘Eureka’ moment. Intuition is what you do not know you quiet mind helps to see things the way they are and not the
  4. 4. way you would like them to be. At the crucial moment of competition with others and put you on the fast trackdecision making, trust your intuitive brain and not your towards excellence.analytical brain. Managers have to be intuitive, inclusiveand humane. Motivating for Excellence through Story Telling A big part of a CEO’s job is to motivate the team towardsExcellence excellence. To do that he must engage their emotion, notLet us now move the discussion to excellence. What is just their mind, and the key to their hearts is a story. Atexcellence? Like life, excellence is a journey, a search for MART we have a tradition of celebrating staff members’the highest. That is why Tom Peters called his famous book birthdays, weddings, annual increments and just about any‘In search of Excellence’ and not the destination of occasion. Most of my teaching and inspiring people areexcellence. Excellence is a total quality movement. It is a done through stories I tell at these gatherings. Story tellingprocess of continuous self improvement. is a very personal, emotional experience and therefore allows management ideas to get united with an emotion inMy guru used to say you should bring the same level of the listener.awareness and concentration you experience during prayerto your daily activities. Every meal at the ashram was Many cultures have a rich tradition of parables, stories andpreceded by aarti in the temple. And after every meal we mythology to help common people relate to complexwashed the dishes. The Guru would say the awareness and subjects like character, honesty, sincerity and so on. Inconcentration you apply to washing dishes should be the management too, anecdotes and evocative stories cansame you achieve during prayer. So level of awareness help managers learn about human nature. These storiesequals degree of excellence. Total awareness or inspire managers to seek excellence.enlightenment in other words leads to complete Another important truth-for you to win, no one needs toexcellence. That is why when we see something truly lose. We are conditioned to compete for scarce resources.excellent we say God must have made it. So the constant We are told to be best in our class at school andeffort must be to increase our awareness. Excellence is not encouraged to be first in sports. This creates a scarcityachieved by attitude alone, it depends equally on the mindset and leads to competition. All competition does isawareness you bring to the task. fuel the illusion that we are all separate. But when weExcellence through Mentoring operate at a higher level we begin to see the interconnectedness of everything, we all win. When weAnother way to put an employee on the road to excellence work in harmony, there is more for everyone, Take love,is through mentoring where the junior has complete trust, the more we give the more we get and our love bank doesrespect and faith in his senior, resulting in a strong, not diminish. Or take happiness, or even knowledge. Theinstructional and emotional relationship. The two share more we share the more it grows.warmth, love and support like the bond between LordKrishna and Arjun. Success in life does not lie in reaching your goals-it lies in the personal transformation and inner shifts inI look for every opportunity to show and tell my team consciousness and awareness that take place.members that I care for them deeply. These young peoplehave given some of the best years of their lives to help me The question in your mind must be. Is it possible to practicegrow MART. I honor them for that. Their successes are my what I have suggested in a competitive, corrupt and greedysuccess and we celebrate all successes. Similarly their world? Well Ratan Tata runs his multibillion dollar businesssetbacks are my setbacks and I always offer my shoulder on ethical principles, so do Warren Buffet andand hand to them in their hour of need. Narayanmurthy and many others. Barrack Obama is a symbol of hope for humanity because of his transparencyWhen you strive towards excellence it does not help to and middle class values. If you are looking for enduringcompete with others because you may be better than one happiness you should be prepared to lose out on somebut worse than another. So are you better or worse? material gains. Or you could follow a competitive,Comparing yourself with a moving benchmark cannot give aggressive and manipulative approach to seek short livedyou an accurate picture of yourself and it only results in gains but a life filled with stress and anxiety. I made thewastage of productive energy. So don’t race against choice to run MART and live my life on value basedothers, race against yourself. Resolve to be better today principles. You must make your choice.than yesterday. This approach will get you out of Contact the Author: