12 May In company of love …
You live that you may learn to love. You love that you may learn to live. No other lesson is required of Man.
~ Mikhail Naimy in The Book of Mirdad
It’s so true of work places that I found in my sixteen years of living (I never worked to make a living) and the space of love (iProdigy) that I created for myself and my co-travellers to live, in 2001.
When Dr. P. P. Gupta, the then CMD of CMC Limited (the company that cradled my professional growth) sponsored my trip to Switzerland to participate in the Festival of India being held out there in late ‘80s without linking it to a direct business benefit, I experienced love. When Anu Aga, the then VP HR of Thermax extended her support (to an ordinary sales executive struggling to create foot prints for its newly launched office automation solutions) and re-designated me out of turn to help seek audience of the C-suite without asking for immediate returns, it was again an act of love that touched me deeply. And much later, when I brought in my partner to share my pains and pleasure of running a conscious business, living with iProdigy, and helped her to settle down in a new city with a 10-month old bay, again was an act of love. Or so I think.
To me the businesses that are meant to thrive are necessarily love-led. Starting from upholding love from its own purpose of existence and then making manifest the same love in all the acts that is directed towards its constituent members and stake holders, it is love-led all the way. I was fortunate to have found such love-led spaces to work and live with – companies like CMC, Thermax and ICIM, among others. These were spaces that, instead of hankering for volume, prolifically created value in terms of quality of life of people in this country. They measured themselves in terms of metrics like innovation, indigenous-ness and lives touched. What is most important is that they didn’t set out to create glorious landmarks to meet the measures. It was the other way round. Benchmark quality of life solutions like the computerization of passenger reservation in Indian Railways and indigenous sources of alternative energy were natural outcomes of sustained and passionate pursuits of purpose. Most naturally, when, inspired by the ethos of such businesses, I created iProdigy in 2001, I choose not to chase volume but relentlessly create and add value to the client systems through talent transformation. Leading to iProdigy touching / transforming lives of close to 7000 professionals.
Today, thanks to much experiment happening with conscious capitalism and conscious businesses we are getting to hear of firms of endearment that seem to be love-led in their approach to creating and sharing value in their eco system. What I am not sure of, however, is whether their actions are truly love-led or they are still falling in the trap of conforming to norms which are expected to be displayed by conscious businesses to get them to earn brownie points.
It does not matter what you do or how you do it. What matters is where you are coming from. It is possible for businesses to put up image-building acts of righteousness, goodness and inclusivity driven more by a fear of being exposed than genuine love of people who bring value to the business. Very similar to people from a certain community in India who have turned vegan not out of compassion towards animals but more out of fear of sinning. Such pretentious existence is as life-less as a synthetic flower that neither gives of any fragrance not leads to fruition.
The essence of any system or entity that is inside-out love-led is built around practiced values. It is such values that drive their actions – consistently, across people, time and space. Love-led organizations are conscious of these drivers, the values they cherish. And this consciousness is so pervasive that across functions, processes, divisions and geographies one will unmistakably get a uniform experience of these values in action.
So what are these core values that such systems consistently practice and demonstrate?
Arising out of the cellular consciousness that prevails through the organization, there are three core values that find expression – Commitment, Compassion and Contentment
The key things to remember here are
- These are values – innate preferences – which are drivers of value-driven behavior. These values can neither be engineered nor implanted. More often than not, they are inherited from the founders and early members and have crept into practice, unconsciously. They can only be uncovered by recounting value-led experiences from the past and brought to the consciousness of the organization for being practiced across boars.
- Compassion is not a competency that can be taught and learnt. It is love in its highest from which makes itself manifest when one becomes aware of this love. It is not some act of motivated giftivism. Nor is it a noble act of helping the needy and the down trodden. That’s probably more condescension than compassion. Neither does it differentiate the worthy from the unworthy. For it rains unabated to pour on mountains and valleys alike, at the same time. It is impersonal. All that it ensures is systemic goodness, even if it appears to be ‘harsh’, temporarily, to some individuals and ‘kind’ to some others. In reality, it is neither kind nor harsh, neither blind nor awakened. It is love that is Universal being showered for the entirety to be healed.
- The value of compassion is directed towards the other while the value of contentment is driven towards the self. One has to be careful of not allowing it to be demonstrated the other way round – compassion towards self and contentment (indifference towards others) – which is normally the case.
- Compassion and Contentment are like the two wings that enable a system to take off and fly in the direction being sought by Commitment. Left alone to surface spontaneously, these are like qualities of nature showing up in appropriate harmony, the root of such harmony being the Consciousness from which they are born.
To be able to create, discover, design and sustain a ‘company of love’, the crux is consciousness. Consciousness, not only at the management levels but also at the organismic and cellular levels. It may be a painstaking journey to awaken consciousness across all levels in an organization and ensure it is sustained. However, with right approach, focus and enablement, it is possible to leverage the contagiousness of consciousness and simulate a natural process by which it can spread virally.
Purity of executive intent is where it all starts with.