Friday, April 27, 2012

Spirituality in Business!

The past few years have witnessed a proliferation of articles on spirituality and its relevance for business. A growing trend in spirituality research is an emphasis on spirituality in the workplace and business. Theoretical and empirical support is emerging on how workplace spirituality influences both employee and organizational outcomes.

What is spirituality in business?  There’s a wide range of important perspectives.  Some people say that it’s simply embodying their personal values of honesty, integrity, and good quality work. Others say it’s treating their co-workers and employees in a responsible, caring way.  For others, it’s participating in spiritual study groups or using prayer, meditation, or intuitive guidance at work. And for some, it’s making their business socially responsible in how it impacts the environment, serves the community or helps create a better world.

Key spiritual values embraced in a business context include integrity, honesty, accountability, quality, cooperation, service, intuition, trustworthiness, respect, justice, and service. People at all levels in the corporate hierarchy increasingly want to nourish their spirit and creativity. When employees are encouraged to express their creativity, the result is a more fulfilled and sustained workforce. Happy people work harder and are more likely to stay at their jobs. A study of business performance by the highly respected Wilson Learning Company found that 39% of the variability in corporate performance is attributable to the personal satisfaction of the staff.  Spirituality was cited as the second most important factor in personal happiness (after health) by the majority of Americans questioned in a USA Weekend poll, with 47% saying that spirituality was the most important element of their happiness.

Globally people increasingly want to bring a greater sense of meaning and purpose into their work life.  They want their work to reflect their personal mission in life.  Many companies are finding the most effective way to bring spiritual values into the workplace is to clarify the company’s vision and mission, and to align it with a higher purpose and deeper commitment to service to both customers and community.

Increasing numbers of business people find that the key area for applying spirituality is in how employees are treated.  Simple things can be very powerful like take a few minutes each day to appreciate someone, to thank them for a job well done, or just to listen to their concerns.  Generosity with your time can be as important as generosity with money.

I welcome your feedback and comments.

See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Positivity – A tool to overcome life’s challenges!

Maintain positivity to overcome life’s challenges and lead a high quality life. Sounds too good to believe, right?  The normal initial reaction would be that this is yet another fad by the self-help gurus for the weak or for the faint hearted.


What I am sharing here is based on scientific research. There are multiple peer reviewed journal articles and publications available on the topic. I would recommend an easy reading book by Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D. titled “Positivity" to understand some of the basics of positivity.

What is positivity? There are multiple definitions. And one among them, according to, is “the state or character of being positive:  a positivity that accepts the world as it is."  To explain a bit more detailed, positivity creates emotions  like joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love that opens our hearts and minds and making us more creative and receptive. It helps us to build new skills, new ties, new knowledge, and new way of being.

Business leaders and researches have increasingly understood the value of positivity and today their focus is on building more positivity in all environments. Politicians increasingly realized the value of positivity and they engage slogans of ‘hope’ in lieu of scarcity and despair. The base of all religions is positivity and hope for a better future. Only people with vested interest teach and encourage negativism and hatred.

Here is an interesting finding in the business world on positivity; negotiators who sincerely displayed positivity were more likely to close deals, get better concessions, and were able to maintain lasting and future business relationships. This is against the conventional thinking, but has been scientifically proven by researchers.

Back to the basics; here are some interesting findings reported by Dr. Fredrickson on positivity.

  • Positivity feels good. The sparkle of good feelings awakens your motivation.
  • Positivity changes how your mind works. It not only change the content of the mind (from bad to good), but also changes the scope and boundaries of the mind.
  • Positivity transforms your future.  Over a period of time, positivity brings the best in you.
  • Positivity puts the brakes on negativity. Positivity acts like a reset button and can calm you down and make you resilient to overcome challenges.
  • Positivity obeys a tipping point. Beyond this tipping point (positivity ratio of 3:1, for details visit positivity can provide extra-ordinary outcomes.
  • You can increase your positivity. By training and practice you can increase positivity which will provide

We all know that anger kills. This is no new finding; there are ample research results behind it. Insincere positivity kills too. What I mean is that we cannot fake positivity.

True positivity can uniquely revitalize your world view, your mental energy, your relationship and your potential.  Fill your mind with positive energy and the results are there to realize. 

I welcome your feedback and comments.

See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On Race, Minorities, and Social Change!

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman brought in new discussions on the underlying issues of race, minorities, and related social challenges.  For those readers outside of US, this is a hotly debated issue in United States for the past month and a half that in a way is disturbing the social fabric of the most open society in the world.

My intent is not to discuss the right and wrong on this particular incident. My intent is to share the views on the underlying social tension. Although dominant groups seek to define the social landscape, groups who experience unequal treatment have in the past resisted power and seek significant social change and continue to do so today. The sweeping changes happening around world including the “Arab Spring” is part of this fight against the social oppression.

Race is a social construction, and this process benefits the oppressor, who defines who is privileged and who is not. The acceptance of race in a society as a legitimate category allows racial hierarchies to emerge to the benefit of the dominant “races.” Racism is a doctrine of racial supremacy that states one race is superior to another. One CNN contributor commented, “Stating that there is no racism is the new racism”. We cannot ignore the reality, but need to work closely to address them.

Coming to minorities; a social minority need not be a mathematical one. A minority group is a subordinate group whose members has significantly less control or powers over their own lives than do the members of a dominant or majority group. Why minorities join as a block and typically forming vote banks?  This is part of survival instinct; a rule applicable around the world. The problem comes when some “messiahs” arrive as leaders of these minorities with nothing but self-interest and take advantage of the minorities and socially deprived. Hope many of my readers outside of US can relate the issues which are relevant to your own environment.

The need of the hour is a pluralistic society. Pluralism describes a society in which several different groups coexist, with no dominant or subordinate groups. People individually chose what cultural patterns to keep and which to let go. The two significant forces that are absent in a truly pluralistic society are prejudice and discrimination. For many, this looks like a distant dream, but human race has remarkable agility and the days are not far off when such dreams are realized!

I welcome your feedback and comments.

See you next week!

Saju Skaria

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The second coming!

This is the time of Easter; the remembrance and celebration of Christ’s resurrection. What is the message this offers to people?

This blog is read by a large number of people around the world, Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believers. So, I will stay focused on the underlying message.

Never be the prisoner of the past. There is always opportunity for growth and make a second coming. Be the architect of the future. The resurrection is the reflection of the bouncing back. In Christian faith, had Jesus not resurrected, there is no further hope left.  By rising from the dead, Jesus gave this eternal hope of rebounding even from the worst adversity.

This is also a message for people who are habitually miserable and whine about everything in life. The upbeat people have hope and aspirations and they will bounce back from adversities, more often than the failure thinkers.  

How to overcome anxiety? The fear of failure is part of the process. Jesus Christ was no exception.  The best way to deal with is to jump into action. Courage gives the self-control to overcome hurdles and persist on your goals where others have failed.  

Most of us have read about purpose driven life. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. Our endeavor should be channelizing that purpose to bring joy and happiness to people around us. There is no magic wand to achieve this. It is an iterative and incremental approach. We fall at every stage. Our ability to get up and move forward makes the difference in our lives.

Our creative best come into play when we realize the higher purpose in life. Let the Easter be an opportunity for our second coming to realize why we are called into the universe as unique beings.

Happy Easter to all!

Saju Skaria