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OVERVIEW

Throughout the twentieth century, the dominant paradigm of management has been changing. As a consequence, there has been an evolution in the concept of leadership and in the way executives think about business strategy . The trend in both leadership and strategy began with an emphasis on the concrete or material aspects of business and focused on production. This was followed by progressively subtler interpretations of business enterprise that emphasized the importance of the human element.

Contemporary thinking about both leadership and strategy focus attention on the knowledge base of the firm and emphasizes the value of creativity and learning in organizations. However , I wish to emphasize that in the twenty- first century, management surpasses even this level and will be based not only on knowledge but on “ knowingness” – a comprehensive consciousness based model which explores inner realities that touch sensitive core values hitherto unexplored. The transition of management thought towards the emphasis on continuous learning and leadership at all levels in a learning organization is a progression beyond organizational processes. In the latter part of the century, management scholars attempted to identify the true depository of knowledge in organizations. Recognizing that organizations are indeed knowledge- based, they wanted to know how and where in an organization knowledge actually resides. Historically the answer has been that it can be found in the databases, files, and accounting systems of the firm, because knowledge contained there is owned and fully controlled by the Institution. But a deeper analysis revealed that a company’s knowledge lies in the Human Resources. These apply to all levels of staff. The true depository of knowledge in the institution is therefore the consciousness of the knower himself. My own research has revealed that until and unless the inner core of a person is radically transformed, training undertaken at the outer superficial sensory level will not be sufficient enough to penetrate deep down and make an inner transformation at the “Core” or at an integral level. This is the level that human beings have often sensed, or have often felt a need for, which is broader or larger or fuller than the ordinary world, and in some sense lies “beyond” the threshold which normally bounds our existence.

What are some of the results of transcendence experiences of the sort instanced above? In the first place, it is likely that these are experiences of a very high order, of the sort Maslow terms “peak experiences”, in which the individual is most alive, most healthy, and at the peak of his capabilities. Maslow allows for gradations in peak experiences, and would fit this sort of experience high on the scale, perhaps as the intense most type of peak experience. The results that accrue as a result of peak experiences are: positive changes in the self image, positive changes in interpersonal relationships, remission of neurotic symptoms (at least for a time), increased creativity, increased spontaneity and self-expression, and so on, in the realm of psychological improvement. There is significant evidence that altered states of consciousness hold major personality growth, improved interpersonal relationships, and an enhanced potential for significant psychological benefit, i.e., that ASC experiences are often avenues leading toward therapeutic effect and psychological growth. Some ASCs, in other words, have therapeutic significance for the human person in that they effect positive psychological changes in the person, changes ranging in value from learning control over habit patterns (primarily with Deep Meditation , Bio- Feedback and hypnosis), all the way up to ability to live fully. Such personality changes, most of which are mediated via noetic insight (i.e., self understanding), may be called therapeutic changes if they result in the remission of psychological disorders (e.g., neuroses or psychoses), or the changes may be called personality growth if they are a movement from psychological normality to a state of being which is healthier than the normal. Therefore , any outside developmental activities devoid of such inner alteration will only yield short term results which Sri Lanka or any Organization can ill afford at this juncture when every effort is being made towards accelerated development. Strategies with a narrow focus would then leave much “ Head” knowledge but little or no “Heart” value shift, thus in the long term leaving the person with an inner sense of restlessness and emptiness which contributes in no small measure to producing superficial leaders devoid of substance, highly stressed nervous systems and as it has been reveled in Criminology , the possibility of latent criminal tendencies activated.

Today everywhere we witness a steady erosion of values and morals and an immense shortage of leaders of substance. Our alcohol consumption, drug addiction, prostitution and suicide rates are leading indicators of our deep inner restlessness and a vacuum within. Vacuous minds can only produce vacuous thoughts so we witness a bandwagon of leaders who promote outer show to cover up their rotten inner core. The recent international examples, such as, ruthless leaders of the caliber of Bin Laden or deceitful leaders like those in ENRON, make us question the very concept of leadership. It was reported that one top leader of ENRON, Charles Baxter had committed suicide a few days ago. At the superficial level Baxter was also a top leader, ruthless, Type- A, winning the admiration of his subordinates, kind and generous to staff- yet at the inner core he was unsettled and corrupt. ENRON was one of the companies that had the best industrial relations, vacations, bonuses and all that an employee dreamed of. Alas, they turned out to be dreams only. There was no harmony or inner calmness within - but conflict consumed him and led to a depression that cost his life. Today in our own country and at various leading organizations also there are hundreds of Managers and Executives who are driven by unrealistic demands that may reach their limit if the tendency is not reversed. Ulcers , High blood pressure & coronaries have a close connection with a stressed up nervous system, and cancer at the root of hopelessness. Organisation culture and management style can be a source of stress. Poor communications and indifferent leadership also create anxiety. Lack of competence causes stress too. This may arise from poor selection practices at the time of recruitment, promotion or transfer. It may arise because people have been inadequately trained for the new job. Social and economic events outside the employment relationship cause stress and need to be considered.

Research has found that the way people are managed is the biggest influence on employee attitudes. Adoption of enlightened management practices, (e.g. job design, skills development, involvement, work environment and culture, and effective occupational health programmes) is the basis for a positive psychological contract. In turn, a carefully thought through psychological contract supports organisational commitment and job satisfaction - which are associated with higher productivity and profitability. People who feel under excessive pressure are likely to be working long hours and have a poor psychological contract. Those who find pressure motivating on the other hand also have high levels of commitment, this suggests that a positive psychological contract can help reduce feelings of uncomfortable pressure and help people deal with circumstances. In turn, this will have a payoff in terms of increased performance, job satisfaction and enhanced well-being. However those with a poor psychological contract who are under continual pressure and working harder and longer are likely to suffer stress. This will result in increased sickness absence, job dissatisfaction and quitting the job. In Sri Lanka today we witness a further alarming trend, a tendency towards cynicism . The only thing that matters is whether you succeed or not . everything is subordinated to success . At this level of reasoning, if you achieve the end the means do not matter. Now that is the hallmark of cynicism. The teachers and trainers cater to this group by arranging hundreds of hours of training , with scant regard to programmes that develop use of full brain potential, creativity, reversal of negative emotions of the past etc that releases a person’s true potential. With only the horrendous “Outer show” and our tendency to focus on short term results, lack of strategic focus, the prospects are bleak and they stand as a monument to the repercussions that will be felt for decades to come.

IS THERE A WAY OUT

Along with various value added training programmes that impart knowledge and diverse skills, specific attention should be focused on the transformation of the leader himself at the deeper level. With that inner radiance now released he or she will be able to lead a calmer, more focused life. This would facilitate an inner dialogue and correct any negative impressions of the past and open the valve of inner release. He will think for himself, develop assertive skills , creativity, higher job satisfaction, and move away from the IQ trap to EQ – Emotional Intelligence and beyond to SQ , the spiritual intelligence. Then you will come across an enlightened leader. This would also increase the creativity and inter- personal skills that would contribute enormously to bring about a society focused on higher values and maintaining unity in diversity, a sure way of laying a foundation for a culture of inner and outer peace. This truly would then become transformational leadership. Downplaying this element and engaging only at sensory level is bound to fail.

WHAT IS UNIQUE WITH e- CONSCIOUSNESS

For the first time in the world I am happy to introduce the concept of transformation from e- business to e-consciousness which will help tap the “ Collective Consciousness” of the organization to gain lasting results. The elements discovered and the methodology are all unique and original. We encourage the participants to explore the inner realities and revisit Einstein’s famous equation E=MC ^2 now with consciousness added which emancipates and energizes both simultaneously while helping extinguish the raging fires within that makes one helpless if not hopeless.

Author : Prof.Lakshman Madurasinghe

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