The Buddha as a CEO

The Buddha as a CEO
Dr. Rekha Shetty
How cool it would be to spend your time
thinking of lovely new ways to inspire more
joy and happiness in the people around.
Looking at the opposite of
conventional wisdom is future
vision. Analyze carefully before
For Buddhists, the Buddha is a model
who provides inspiration. He walked
the same path we walk and
overcame many obstacles to attain
enlightenment and free himself from
the confusion that is samsara.
Unity is Strength
• Gandhiji’s greatest fear was that he would
hate the British.
• Nelson Mandela worried that he would hate
his oppressors.
• The Buddha asks us to see the divine
radiance, the ‘Buddha’s nature’ in the face of a
leper and a legend.
• In tennis everything starts with “Love All”. In
business, this concept can revolutionize the
• Many Buddhists will avoid professions which
involve deceit, exploitation, killing, harming
‘When you work, you are a flute in whose
heart the whispering of the hours turn to
music. To love life through labour is to be
intimate with life’s most intimate secret. All
work is empty save when there is love, for
work is love made visible.’ – Kahlil Gibran
The Buddha’s advice on livelihood
• Be professionally skilled, efficient, energetic
and learned.
• Work hard to protect your income and sustain
your family.
• Keep the company of faithful friends and seek
spiritual betterment together.
• Live within your means.
• Do not take away what others have
legitimately earned.
Giving is the best communication
A Buddhist Approach to management
Buddhism has its own unique management
theory. It had a well-developed administration
system. It had been that Buddhist Sangha
communities were organizations which
excelled in managerial skills.
Loving kindness or metta
Invest in the give based economy.
Abandon the take based economy.
‘what’s in it for me?’ model.
Compassion or karuna
To feel the pain, joy and aspiration of others in
your own heart. To feel this even about your
enemies. The Dalai Lama once said that his
greatest fear was not being able to feel
compassion for the Chinese.
Appreciative joy or mudita
Replacing envy with ecstasy.
Feeling the happiness of a plant as you water
Enjoying the thirst-quenching thrill of a bird
sipping water from a bath you have set up.
Equanimity or upekkha
Inviting the possibility that every person in
every position is your teacher. What could a
janitor teach a Nobel-winning physicist? What
could a short order cook teach a global CEO?
What could a child in the playground teach a
world-class athlete?
Buddhist Principles Every CEO can
Working together
Communicating effectively
Encouraging every team member
Sharing ideas selflessly
Thinking as a single unit
Equality under the Dharma
Decentralized leadership:
Shared support and responsibility:
Mutual respect and harmony:
Communication and interaction
Democratic governing
Implementing Buddhism Principles in
• Work provides a major opportunity to engage
with the world.
• Alisha, a Mahayana mind trainer in Tibet,
could mend shoes.
• Conflicts do arise in protecting the family’s
means of support and cutting costs
• Do not compromise on the quality of the
• Dharma is to be practised every day—keeping
a secret, guarding another’s reputation,
paying full attention to one’s work even when
To carry out small acts of
consideration even on Wall Street
Caring about your customers, speaking the
truth, sharing your gains with employees . . .
each of these and more, you can practice on
the floor.
‘The heaviness of being successful was
replaced with the lightness of being a
beginner again.’ - Steve Jobs
Death is very likely the single
best invention of Life. It’s Life’s
change agent.
Innovative Idea
Top 10 Buddhist Celebrities
* Tiger Woods
* Tina Turner
* Leonard Cohen
* Richard Gere
* Steven Seagal
* Orlando Bloom
* The Dalai Lama
* Herbie Hancock
* Kate Bosworth
* Aung San Suu Kyi
Think of the give-based economy
• To measure the exact impact of loving
kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and
equanimity, on the corporation.
• The Buddha says simply that all living beings
are interconnected. Everyone is a part of our
• In business, one believes in retaining the
competitive edge, getting what is most
profitable for you, sometimes at the cost of
customers, employees, and even the country.
• Winning is being street-smart, aggressive and
• If you were to turn this upside down and work
to bring maximum joy to everyone around you
by loving and giving rather than taking,
imagine how everyone would support and
help you, and what energy they would bring
to their jobs.
All is well
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