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Value grants longevity: Moid Siddiqui
By: A Mid Day Correspondent
April 12, 2005

Moid Siddiqui, the Hyderabad-based career coach and management expert, believes that the life expectancy of a company is going to be 40 years, far less than that of a normal human being.

As author of the book 'Soul Inc: The Art of Managing from Within’, Siddiqui points out that employee-morale is at an all-time low.

Looking at Japanese organisations that seem to have cracked the code, Siddiqui believes "that the bottom line is not moneymaking but developing a corporate character through a deeper understanding and 'corporate awareness'."

His book deals with the deeper levels of awareness of organizations, tracing inspiration to Gary Zukav, Fritjof Capra, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Osho, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Buddha, Socrates, Deepak Chopra and Kahlil Gibran. Here he speaks to Shalini Seth about his book in present corporate context.

Is your book a response to managers getting younger?

In fact, my 'Soul Inc' is the reflection of my study on 'Human Potential Power House' that I conducted during my assignment as Executive Vice President (Human Potential Development) at Nagarjuna Group. When I was working on this theme at micro level, IIM Lucknow invited me to share my ideas on 'enlightened organisations'.

That granted me wisdom to think on a macro level and I discovered a unique relationship between human energies (physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual) and organisational consciousness (physical or individual perspective, intellectual perspective, emotional perspective and universal or spiritual perspective).

My paper was well appreciated. I worked on this theme further and gained deeper thoughts about 'authentic excellence', 'authentic empowerment' etc.
All this came out in the form of 'Soul Inc.'

What ensures organisational longevity?

My thoughts and approach jell well with James Collin's findings in 'Built To Last'. It is value and value alone that grants longevity to an organisation. Corporate India witnessed that when the IT business went south; most of the companies compromised with the so-called core values, with exception of Wipro and Infosys.

These two companies stood firm like a rock and sailed well with higher growth and profitability without resorting to downsizing.

Most of the companies compromised with the values just with a knee-jerk. To my understanding, the real time for a test of values is when a company is not doing well. Downturns must be faced by holding values steadfast, not by compromising them.

How can concerns with employee morale find their way across the seven seas? This is in reference to BPOs. Do you think BPOs have a soul? Or do you think it can be transposed after the economics have done their job?

I have mentioned in my book 'Soul Inc.' that both 'BPO' as practiced by the US and the western countries and 'body shopping' are unethical as their focus is on exploitation rather than service. Since Indian or Chinese talents come cheap, the western countries are exploiting them. No doubt we are getting money.

But what we forget is a vital question, 'Is it worth breaking our back for the sake of five bags of rice?'

I wish and wait for the day when India and China - who have rich ancient wisdom and common moorings - gain their well-deserved place in the business world and call the shots, pushing the West to the receiving end. It shall happen only when we understand and trust our spirituality and become aware of our wisdom-based heritage.

It is a question of time; it may not happen during my lifetime but it shall happen one day.

Since India and the Orient are both societies with strong spiritual-philosophical roots, what Japanese management mantras can be applied to India?

I agree that the Japanese mantras are akin to ancient eastern wisdom. But Japan and most of the eastern countries have already forgotten their original moorings. In the 1980s, the US and western countries were looking at Japan for their Zen business management and 'Process Orientation'.

Both have faded because Japan and most of the eastern countries have already started toeing the US way of management - upside down! They are most busy in buttering their royal slice. I wish India and China did not blindly follow the western fads and compromise on their heritage.

Do you think traditional organisations had souls, everywhere in the world? Or is it a Japanese invention in an evolved workplace?

In my 'Soul Inc.', I have mentioned that every organisation is a living organisation. It is not true that only the virtuous organisations are living organisations.

Virtues and vice have nothing to do with life. Both, a man of virtue and a man of vice, live life. But there is a divine difference in their quality of life. What is more important is recognition of soul.

Only those organisations whose consciousness has evolved due to their value-based or universal perspective discover their souls and gain longevity.

The organisations have souls but they cannot discover due to their physical or individualistic perspectives. For this reason they can be called 'soulless organisations'.

Give us five tips for employees to contribute towards ensuring their own growth within the organisation.

Tips for cultivating a higher consciousness: The mega-tip is that the employees should understand the value of 'horizontal growth' rather than 'vertical growth'. Learning and becoming self-aware is 'horizontal growth' whereas climbing the ladder of hierarchy is 'vertical growth'.

You sweat, tire and climb hard the ladder of success, only to realise at the fag end of life that it was leaning against the wrong wall!

Besides this, honesty, intellectual integrity (no gap between competence and commitment) transparency and dignity for self are other tips for gaining authentic growth.

One must understand the meaning of dignity and maintain it. Self-respect grants authentic respect. One should never break one's back for the sake of five bags of rice.

Give us five tips for management to move towards Soul Inc.

I have given many tips in my book on how to gain deeper consciousness and transform your lower organisational consciousness to a higher level of consciousness. A few tips are:

  • Serve a purpose
  • Instead of keeping the focus on 'what can I get from society?' keep the focus on 'how can I give to society?'
  • Manage business with love and passion
  • The means are equally important - how did you achieve?
  • Instead of keeping focus on short-term gains, keep focus on a long-term legacy

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