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spiritual intelligence in corporate training

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Can corporates differentiate between spirituality (externalised as vision, mission statements, individuals as part of the whole etc), and religion (to be avoided)?

And if so, should space be found for training that incorporates spiritual intelligence?


Euphrosene Labon

13 Responses

  1. Yes
    In a word. I’m not sure that all emplyers need to avoid religion though – churches and religious groups might find that a bit difficult.

    But I think a spiritual organisation (in the sense that you refer to) is a better place to work and that time should be made for training that incorporates spiritual intelligence. Though maybe training is the wrong word as this calls for an adjustment in attitude rather than behaviour or performance.

  2. thanks Nik
    I didn’t get your response for some reason hence not acknowledging it earlier.

    I have written an article on SI, based on studies in the US where some major corporates are including meditation breaks in the daily schedule, for example.

    Up to now, the UK market has tended to be more ‘cynical’, although still open-minded.

    As my focus tends to be via SI, I wondered how best to position it… as I want to avoid any misunderstanding.

  3. in case anyone is interested…

    Ian Mitroff, co-author of A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America, says spirituality can provide us with a competitive advantage.

    Please feel free to email me for the rest of the article.

    Best Rgds Euphrosene

  4. ‘Spirituality in the Workplace’
    It’s a GREAT question – to which I don’t have the answer! – but here are a few recent observations. I have noticed that more clients and suppliers in the Learning & Development World are regularly talking about their ‘spiritual journey’ and their personal and business goals. There are many training suppliers offering the ‘Third Eye’ or ‘Reading the Runes’ or Hypnosis (as with some aspects of NLP)or some other form of deep and meaningful spiritual input. It’s as if the Business World, and the individuals within it, are screaming out for a ‘Spiritual Solution’.
    I have also noticed that Corporates are much more comfortable in discussing these ‘softer issues’ than they were 2 years ago. Some of the Work / Life Balance session offered have raised the awareness of the ‘spiritual’ aspect of people’s lives. It’s almost as if ‘spiritual’ is becoming the ‘cool’ thing to add to a Business Strategic Vision. Someone recently told me that Maslow’s Hierarchical Needs has recently been re-issued and ‘Spiritual Needs’ had now gone to the top of the list. – So… there’s definitely something ‘happening out there’… in the meantime…’May the Force go with you’!

  5. thanks Barry

    Many thanks Barry. I’ll check out Maslow and append a link (there is a site that has various permutations of his hierarchy) if anyone else is interested.

  6. A Stress Therapists Viewpoint
    As a qualified and practising stress therapist, I believe spirituality can be brought into training and corporate life and can have an extremely beneficial effect. However, it depends on how it is delivered. At base level, looking after one’s employees minds, bodies and spirits makes them feel valued. If people feel valued, they tend to be happier and work more effectively. As I’m sure you’r aware a lot of companies are happy to stage lunchtime yoga classes or on-site massage and also offer forms of counselling. All of these have a practical application as well as being good for the spirit as well as the body. In corporate life and in all aspects of life, I believe that respect for the individual is a valuable practice which has benefits all round. I hope this answers your question.

  7. thanks Annie

    Yes it does although I am aware of a comment (offline) that anything that might impinge on ‘religion’ can also attract complaint as well.

  8. Workplace Spirituality
    Interest in spirituality in the workplace is certainly gaining ground the website http://www.workplacespirituality.info/ is devoted to it and I have had opportunity to attend a conference on the subject held by the Ridley Hall Foundation at Cambridge. I am also part of “Crucial Insights” a group of Christian consultants who meet regularly looking at how faith and the world of work interface. Some may feel that there is a considerable difference between spirituality and faith/religion, but such practices at yoga, Tai Chi snd Transcentental Meditation have their roots in the Eastern Hindu/Buddhist traditions whereas New Age brings together a collection of eastern spiritual concepts wth neo-paganism thus I would contend a link, albeit in some cases tenuous, does exist.

  9. Spirituality in Organisational life is an inevitability whether
    Coachees seem to want to go to deeper/higher places in recent years. Course participants will talk about the soul destroying nature of their organisations. Walking into some organisations one can feel the Spirit cowed. My interest is in making workplaces more humane and uplifting places to be. As a non- religious but spiritually inclined developer, I trained a year or so back in Spiritual Development and Facilitation to help me meet the Spiritual needs I was facing from clients. ( And, by the way, some of the projects I am involved in include hard line work such as evaluation of training. The Spiritual need does not emerge from just the soft skills stuff).
    It is difficult to walk the line of personal authenticity whilst not offending others beliefs, yet concepts of Love in the Workplace (brotherly/sisterly love that is ) and respectful techniques that enhance energy and spirit ( such as appreciative inquiry) seem only to enhance the mood of groups – or lift the Spirit.
    I suspect that ‘being’ spiritually and wholly present and connected with a group transforms the effect of the intervention more than ‘doing’ spiritual stuff with them – whatever that might mean. I have never sensed that people have been offended at the notion of Spiritual Intelligence being discussed though.
    I have no idea whether ultimately the bottom line benefits but people seem to be moving from a state of sleepiness to a degree of awakeness. Does that benefit an organisation? Too soon for me to say.

  10. link to formal religion
    Quite possibly Richard. Or there again, mystical principles have been subjectively adopted by specific faiths?

    Although I am a firm believer in God, I am not aiming for a metaphysical discussion. (Not here at any rate!)

    Indeed, I can empathise with those whose beliefs differ, whatever that perspective might be.

    It is for that reason, that I believe there is a place for spirituality – but stripped down to its fundamental elements.

    Rather as Lesley has intimated.

    Things like purpose and mission. We see enough ‘mission statements’ in corporate handbooks or mention of ethical policies…

    That to me is spiritual intelligence but follows no formal religion.

    The physical elements of yoga may have originated in the East, but spiritual practices like meditation (concentrated inner stillness and silence)is practised by even atheists (apologies in advance if that has come out in any deprecating way – not meant)

  11. Spiritual and Emotional Intelligence
    As a great believer/fan in the development of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) I feel that the move towards Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) is predictable and necessary as an antidote towards the very self-centred drivers that business and business people have inflicted on us all during the 80/90’s and onwards. The development of a more spiritually satisfying way of doing things, following on from a development in our understanding of ourselves and others, and thinking is long overdue. I would recommend Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall’s book “Spiritual Intelligence – the ultimate intelligence” as a good source of information about SQ and the different way this is shown in peoples’ behaviours depending on what “type” of person they are.

    I also recently picked up Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”, which charts the emergence of Right-brain led thinking as a future business differentiator – the link between EQ, SQ and Right-Brain thinking was really sold to me here. The business case for developing down these three linked routes is plain to see.

    As to answering the question about whether organisations can differentiate between spirituality (externalised as vision, mission statements, individuals as part of the whole etc), and religion.

    Well, as a trainer and business person I believe it is possible to differentiate between the two; though the practices you may find yourselves following could be dubbed broadly “Christian” in nature – though they would also be recognisable as elements of all the world’s major religions – without actually having any religious trappings attached.

    As a practicing Christian I don’t believe that you can start behaving this way without it affecting your life – and it was the development of EQ and SQ in my own life that helped finally cement my belief.

    Perhaps there is a case for the loss of public spirituality being driven by the way people are forced to behave in their workplace and by the way they have been taught to do business. If EQ and SQ are taken up as the way to live business life, then this will influence their private lives and perhaps drive a reawakening of spirituality of all sorts.

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