Enlightened Leadership

Budda Speaks Biz (Zentrepreneurism)

Leaders learn experientially, not theoretically. So what then, are the experiences “enlightened leaders” need to learn to succeed in business and in life. Enlightened leaders like, Arran Stephens, Stephens symbolizes the very essence of the modern day CEO for the “New Economy”.

Arran Stephens started his entrepreneurial journey on 4th Avenue in Vancouver decades ago as the owner of an organic restaurant. Even in those early days he was known as the “hippie capitalist”. Today he’s the CEO and Founder of North America’s largest producer of organic cereals, Natures Path Foods. (www.naturespath.bc.ca)

He runs his company like his life. “It’s all a journey—and he adheres to a strict code of ethics.” Treat the soil like you would your own children….with tender loving care and they will grow healthy and nurtured. Arran begins his day at 4:00 a.m. with meditation during which time he says he receives inner guidance and wisdom to take on the challenge of running a multi million dollar company that spans the globe.

Since the beginning, his wife and family have not only been at his side but have been valued employees as well. They share a compelling faith in a higher source and purpose and their lives reflect that.

Shareholders who might have thought that by hiring a Buddha into the CEO chair would have been a recipe for disaster , cutting into profits and efficiency of operation are now embracing the new “enlightened leader” in an attempt to distance themselves from Jeffrey Skilling of Enron, Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom and the Martha Stewart syndrome. Creating profits with integrity are replacing profits for greed. Examining a company’s charitable giving record and it’s view on a sustainable environment are just as important to a prospective employee today as to whether or not they get their birthday off, a dental plan, or a lock up rack for their bike.

Ian Wilkinson, CEO of Radical Entertainment (www.radical.ca), says that he wants his employees to be a part of the decision as to which non profit organization they should partner with, notice I said “partner” with…not give to. Wilkinson is not interested in riding the wave of popular sentiment to just give for the sake of giving and to swap a “photo op” for a cheque presentation. Wilkinson favours “adopting” a charitable cause…. with the employees not only giving money but becoming personally involved with the charities mission and the clients they serve. So as you can see enlightened leaders create enlightened companies that in turn create enlightened employees which results in an enlightened community. And as Arran Stephens says…”look after your children and they will grow to be nurtured and healthy”.

So what’s the Biz Buddha saying about doing business in the New Economy and why is the new acronym for CEO; Chief Enlightenment Officer not Chief Embezzlement Officer. The answer lies in “Awakening the Buddha Within”. Those of us who embark on spiritual paths are motivated in different ways: Some of us want to know the unknowable, others want to know themselves, still others want to know everything. Some people want transformation, others want miracles, many want to alleviate suffering, help others and leave the world a better place.

Most of us are seeking love or fulfillment in one way or another. Everyone wants inner peace, acceptance, satisfaction and happiness. We all want genuine remedies for feelings of despair, alienation and hopelessness. Don’t we all want to find spiritual nourishment and healing, renewal and a greater sense of meaning? Contrary to popular belief you don’t Awaken the Buddha Within by attending a weekend retreat at Saltspring Island or by purchasing a set of tapes from an infomercial guru at 2 a.m. Like any successful voyage you need to at least have a road map, compass, and know the truck stops along the way.

Hopefully, as you join me on my own personal journey of discovery and transformation, we will together seek to awaken the buddha within and achieve the same happiness in business and in life that we so richly deserve.

Your contributions and comments are most welcome.


Buddha Speaks Biz