When I was a little girl I was taught the societal fundamentals of dinner-table etiquette; to avoid dinner table arguments, never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. Now that I’m a big girl, I’ve decided to rebel that rule—I love to talk politics and religion right at the dinner table. I’ve learned that what is important is how you discuss them. Is it just me, or does it seem that society’s thinking has followed my evolution from little to big?
In my current experience, whilst politics can still be touchy, ‘religious-related’ dialogue seems to have expanded to encompass a subject not only open discussed but often invited and initiated; the subject of Spirituality.
Is it revealing of the work I do, or perhaps the type of client that I work with, that conversations around personal and professional purpose, meaning and values are nowadays being openly explored – not only at the dinner table—but by many business owners, professionals and executives.
Viktor Frankl says our search for meaning is the primary motivation in our lines. Danah Zohar (Co-Author of Connecting with our Spiritual Intelligence) and many other thought leaders of our time, conclude that this search for meaning is what makes us the spiritual creatures that we are.
When I refer to spirituality in this context, I am not talking about religion. I know many devout religious folk who bring profound spirituality to their religious practice – and some who don’t – in the same way that I know business folk who bring integrity into their business practice – and some who don’t.
Zohar’s definition of the experience of ‘the spirit’ means to be in touch with some larger, deeper, richer whole that puts our present situation into a new perspective. In the traditional Eastern sense, spirituality is the deep sense of connectedness of life and all its enterprises. So a spiritual person has awareness that all human endeavours, whether in business, the arts or religion, is part of the larger, richer fabric of the whole universe.
Many of us nowadays, although we’re achieving professional and other success, still grapple with questions of meaning; what is my life all about? What does my job mean? What does this company stand for? Am I aligned with my team? In my relationship? Why am I studying this degree? Some call this ‘crises of meaning’ a spiritual exploration.
This spiritual journey includes reflective personal thinking, feelings and connectedness with soul. It’s deeply subjective. Yet, for most of our lives, we’re interacting with others in organizations and business to achieve collective success in life—some end result. If most of us in the boardroom are exploring meaning on a personal level, is it not viable for us to explore collective meaning on a professional level? Can we bring spirituality into the boardroom? And what might this look like?
Is spirituality in the boardroom expressed in the way that we approach each one another? In our respect and honouring for diverse thinking? In our demonstration of compassion for each other and all the people that report to us and work for us? Does it imply that we focus not only on immediate business results but on bigger-picture, community and society based outcomes? Is it about making meaning together for a deeper and richer experience of our business endeavours?
How would you like to see spirituality expressed in your business and your boardrooms? Is Spirituality in the Boardroom an oxymoron or is it achievable?