This seems kind of crazy, but some businesses are actually training people on how to do the right thing.
This is nuts.
Companies like Goldman Sachs are suggesting it is “interested in serving something greater than their personal interest.”
One has to wonder if this is simply a wacky ploy to correct some misapprehensions with regard to a career in finance.
One has to wonder if this is just bullshit.
And Google offers something called ‘search inside yourself’ <as well as ‘neural self hacking’ and ‘managing energy’>.
Insert ‘yikes’ here.
I imagine the good news is that it seems like companies are beginning to understand that maybe business isn’t all about ‘high living’ <making the most money, having the most ‘bling’ or being the biggest materialist>. How did they get there? Well. Certainly not be examining their own navels. They got there because many aspiring employees are actually talking about the ethics of their employees.
Hey. I’m not flippantly picking on them. I think this is something businesses should do, but I am concerned it is just empty talk at the higher levels. By the way. This issue is maybe the largest issue facing businesses in terms of ‘the generation gap’, in other words, the leaders thinking one thing and emerging employees/managers interested in other things.
Regardless. All these ‘train to do right thing’ words will certainly sound good, but I am not sure the behavior support will follow.
Anyway. With many business leaders expounding upon this whole ‘being mindful’ <which is code for doing the right thing>, well, I guess my problem lies in several areas:
Arianna Huffington conducts something called the ‘gps for the soul’ in something called a mindfulness conference.
<pause for bullshit alert>
Other hugely successful profitable business managers, whose organizations are not particularly well known for anything but squeezing profit from revenue, are suggesting learning more about having a soul in business.
Well. Here’s the deal. We can talk, or, we can do. Or maybe better said: we can teach/preach, or, we can do.
Teaching a younger generation or a rising generation of managers is one thing allowing them to actually put it into practice is another. Frankly, most businesses today aren’t built, and managed, with a soul <or principled behavior at its core>. They are built for shareholder value or ownership value <or profit>. In those cases the ‘soul’ resides in the wallet of the shareholder. If you do not understand that and do anything other than please that soul, well, you get fired. Even if your soul tells you ‘hey … I am doing the right thing.’
I am suggesting there is lack of alignment.
Lots of talk but, pragmatically, businesses are not wired to match the talk.
Look. I love the intent … I just don’t believe the sincerity.
– Bolt on attitudes
This is the corollary to the sincerity. You cannot bolt on attitudes. You can try, and it looks good to say all these things, but the reality is that it simply becomes a separate business unit or separate business objective in which you get to check a box at the end of the year. Like a ‘did we do enough to show we have a soul?” type discussion or “let’s review what steps we took this year to show our soul?”
Ok. How absurd is that?
Well. It gets more absurd.
Speaking of bolting on .. mindfulness <doing the right thing> is becoming part of the whole self help movement.
This means we start talking about ‘the competitive edge to being mindful.’ This means the idea of doing the right thing actually becomes an aspect of ‘how to get ahead.’ This means it isn’t about mindfulness, but mindful of self <and self success>.
That is also absurd.
Here is my point. Why the fuck do I need to teach anyone to be ‘mindful’ or ‘to do the right thing’?
And making a business out of it is not only absurd it is immoral <or amoral — I get them mixed up, but suffice it to say neither is good>.
We are treating doing the right thing as if it needs to be taught and this issue in business needs to be flipped.
How a business is evaluated needs to be taught and ethics or doing the right thing will follow. Change the structure of how business thinks and craft the systems to insure it can be implemented and attitudes <and culture> will emerge.
What I mean is that 99.9% of all employees (people) knows ‘the right thing’, but businesses demand another. To be successful in a business a lot of words fly around about being good and ‘team player’ and yet day in and day out the business world is rewarding profit and growth and individualism <because ‘teams’ do not get promoted, individuals do … oh … and bigger salaries follow>.
There needs to be a balance. And it isn’t teaching someone to be mindful. That is fucking crazy.
I have a vision of some middle manager bringing up mindfulness in a meeting with a senior manager … who slightly cocks his head and says something like “welllllllllllllllllllll …. suuuuuuuuuuuuuure.”
<insert ‘where’s the money’ here … and … ‘i need to fire this kid’s ass because he doesn’t get it’>>
Cause he knows the money will give bonuses and promotions and, in today’s world, not getting fired.
A mindfulness conference? Teaching someone to have a soul? Helping employees understand what is the right thing to do?
<give me a sarcastic> Please.
Look. I am all for personal mindfulness and becoming more self aware, but, a business? Please.
originally published December 2013