Not long ago, the spiritualist and mind-body expert Deepak Chopra stopped in for a chat. What was intended to be a brief conversation turned into a four-hour idea fest.
As is well known, Deepak is a trained endocrinologist. He has ventured beyond classical medicine and done pioneering work linking human health to rooting out counter-productive emotions and sharpening our intuitive skills in listening to our bodies.
In my opinion, Deepak’s model is as ingenious for businesses as it is for people. Future success in business is not about carefully groomed plans that are laboriously translated into neatly executed actions. Business effectiveness now rests on a tissue-thin, instantly-responsive awareness activated by our capacity for distortion-free listening.
In straightforward language, what does this mean?
• We all have a compelling desire to control outcomes, and it takes discipline to let go of this urge. Why? Because you are likely to reason yourself into relying on a dangerously outmoded response. When you watch customers behave . . . or feel the fabrication of a new garment line . . . or as you digest the latest sales numbers, resist the urge to interpret the information in terms of comfortable, routine explanations. Listen to your gut, especially to the new ways it reacts to a familiar stimulus.
• Who knows how many participants are engaged in the role-playing game of “gold farming” worldwide? Some estimates contend there more than a million in China alone! In little over a decade, this simulation has transmuted itself into real-world economics to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. While “farming” is fraught with controversy as it collides with real-world business, its penetration points the way to a new kind of economic reality. This world is governed by constantly shifting on-line perception. Like it or not, future business managers – I believe – will be required to absorb this kind of skill set as second nature.
• When we work with clients, I’m often asked: What is your #1 value added? Increasingly, I give the somewhat perplexing answer: It’s to manifest tomorrow TODAY. This is the most elusive kind of time management – turn-on-a-dime time management.
• Imagine a Formula One driver strapped into the cockpit of his race car, manning a high-tech, carbon-fiber steering wheel that alone might weigh just two or three pounds and cost $40-$50,000 . . . and you’ll get the idea of what I’m talking about.
• We’re accustomed to managers wielding responsibility for millions of dollars of assets, but we are not at all used to them maneuvering through a decision-making matrix with lightning speed. If you attempt to do so with conventional reasoning, there will always be one more fact beyond your grasp. The paralyzing truth: You can never know enough. You need to have the competence and confidence to navigate by intuition instead.
• Reflect on the recent world financial collapse . . . or how quickly Toyota sailed from becoming the world’s #1 automaker to banner headlines as it sailed into a quality/safety morass over accelerator pedals. It’s downright misleading to think of long lead times as a luxury. They’re actually a liability and shouldn’t even be part of the agenda. This new firing-line sensibility is also why managers must have skillfully designed, immediately deployable templates for response in their back pockets.
Our ability to sweep aside fear, doubt, and all the other debilitating emotions – as Deepak Chopra wisely recommends – is, I contend, as fundamental to organizational well-being as it is to human health. And, the instantaneous, natural and intuition-based flow from perception to meaningful response serves businesses every bit as well as our bodies.