People: The Ultimate Bottomline

This recognition of the importance of “people-factor” dawning on the new age manager is not a eureka of rocket science; it is simple common sense which every manager knows instinctively but mostly ignores in practice. However, if the corporate leaders want to realize fully the human potential in their organizations they have to pay priority attention to those parts of the human consciousness which can lead to the highest human well being, fulfillment and creativity.

“People are our greatest assets” – How many times we have heard this statement in management-speak and thought? But, whatever may be the lofty ideas floated in HRD circles, for all practical purposes, the modern corporate mind views the employee as a more or less dispensable knowledge-skill engine for enhancing productivity. When the cost of the human factor begins to pinch into the bottom-line, even a little, than all the benign slogans on the ‘people-factor’ are thrown aside and a ruthless pragmatism takes over. As Wayne F. Cascio, professor of Management at University of Colorado points out: “Unfortunately, when confronted with the need to reduce costs, many of the same executives who tout people as their ‘greatest asset’ see those assets ripe opportunities for cutting cost.” Corporate world cannot fully realize its full human potential as long as it looks at human beings in such a narrowly pragmatic angle. The old management paradigm viewed the employee as a pair of hands. And the new paradigm looks at the employee as a mind or living computer which can generate ideas. But there is not much change in the essential attitude which remains predominantly pragmatic. To be pragmatic is necessary and legitimate in business. But there is a higher pragmatism which in the long-term can lead to better results.

This higher pragmatism views human being not as a “resource” to be managed or knowledge, skill and productivity engine created to fill the coffers of the organization and its deadline or bottomline. The human organism is a complex living entity with a sacred essence, created for a higher purpose. Most of wisdom-tradition of the world agree that this purpose is a progressive unfolding of the human potential, culminating in fully blossomed flowers of humanity.

The need for developing the human potential is now recognized in management but with an eye on the bottom-line and the conception of human potential is a little narrow. As we have said earlier, the new management paradigm views employees as a source of knowledge, skill and ideas or in other words as a thinking and pragmatic mind and will which can generate or innovate ideas and implement or execute them. These are undoubtedly important faculties or potentialities of human beings especially for a pragmatic institution like business. But they are not the whole of human being or exhaust the entire range of human potential.

There is in everyone of us an ideal, ethical and aesthetic intelligence with an inborn sensitivity to higher values like truth, beauty and goodness; an intuitive intelligence with a more direct access to knowledge than the rational mind; a subliminal mentality with a much greater capacity for knowledge, feeling and action than our surface consciousness tethered to our body. Beyond or behind all these lies many layers of spiritual consciousness which hold the key to our highest perfection and fulfillment. The higher pragmatism which we have mentioned earlier will make a conscious effort to make people aware of these superior ranges of consciousness within them and help them to express their greater potentialities in their work-life. If and when we are able to do this, it will have two results: first of all it will considerably enhance the pragmatic effectiveness of the individual and organization in terms of efficiency, productivity, innovation or knowledge; secondly it will lead to a qualitatively superior corporate life infused with the values and ideals of our higher ethical, aesthetic and spiritual nature.

The key to this integral self-actualization lies in the Science of Yoga or to be more specific a system of education, training and development based on the principles of yoga. In this yogic approach the main emphasis will be on the process of human flowering and its self-expression in life and not on its results on the bottomline. If we are able to create the right environment, systems and the process which can trigger and sustain this integral human flowering, then the results in the bottom line is bound to follow, like the tree from the seed.

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