How can one run their Business, in a spiritual way?

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Dear All

I would love to hear what the community thinks of ways by which we run a business according to spiritual principles.  Example using Om Swami Way of Kindness, Truthfulness, Discipline etc. 
Is it possible?
Is it advised?

Regards,
Ravi

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4

As is the king, so is the kingdom! 
An organization is a manifestation of a leader's vision. The leader's energy, focus and values flow in the organization. When a leader has vision that's bigger than herself and stands by a few noble non-negotiable values, the organization automatically moves towards becoming a spiritual giant in the business world. 

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9

Hi Ravi ji. I'm not an expert on this, but I wanted to share my thoughts. Nir Eyal writes in his book Hooked that "it's okay to deceive people if it's in their best interests" (Eyal 166). I agree with that, but you may be asking "who determines 'best interests?'". The answer to that is the business owner's motivation determines it. If the product is made for the world's betterment (i.e. technology, books, etc.), and the company's owner is motivated to use it, then it is 100% okay to use the techniques mentioned in books like Hooked.

On the other hand, if the product is something like a video game (just for entertainment), it becomes a gray zone. If the product involves, say, gambling, it's a total moral no-no to use these techniques to hook customers to a product.

Now on to honesty. Netflix promotes honesty and feedback, almost brutally so. Netflix's CEO, Reed Hastings, believes that this is one of the key reasons for the meteoric rise of Netflix. Truthfulness is encouraged by Reed, and he talks about the importance of giving honest feedback to employees. He talks about the 4A method of feedback:

1. Aim to Assist: Only constructive criticism is accepted.

2. Actionable: Make sure that you provide a clear plan of action.

3. Appreciate: Two good things for every bad one. Appreciate every employee.

4. Accept or Discard: An employee can take or reject any feedback.

However, as Reed points out, in most companies the most valuable feedback is never given. Honesty and open feedback are integral parts of a growing industry, and I hope more companies will encourage these policies.

So my judgment on this is that it is possible and has been done to some extent before. Note the "some extent". As a company grows larger, it is more difficult to maintain that level of honesty or morality. It's all about striking a balance between profit and morals. I think that it is definitely advised, as long as the business owner exerts caution and strikes a good balance between profit and morals.

Hope this helps.

– Rishi

PS: I reviewed all of the books mentioned on my account. Please check those out!

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As Swami says, the Dharma of a company is profit, profit, and profit. No matter how spiritual a business wishes to be, it ultimately works for a profit. When anyone works for profit, they have to take tough stands in hiring and firing employees. They have to close units and so on. Hence, the running of a business always has a gray zone in it.

Even if the Divine himself becomes the leader of a company, the company is still on the path of Adharma if it sells liquor (that destroys society in many ways). Not that the Divine would ever do such a thing, but just for example!

As they say, the product is the king. And, to run a spiritual business, the product has to be something that helps the world. For instance, the company founded by Swami is Black Lotus. That organization has to deal with all the typical issues of a business. However, that business is Dharmic and spiritual because it makes a progressive product.

Therefore, in my view, the essential requirement for running a spiritual business is an uplifting product. That is a product that can take the world on a progressive path. Additionally, if the leader is also spiritual, then that company is a superstar in the making. Like our Swami's Black Lotus, nothing can stop it from becoming the next big sensation!

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Jai Shri Hari

My simple principle is to speak the truth without twisting the statements. At the end of the day, I ask myself how many lies I have spoken today? If by chance my answer comes one then next day I become more mindful while talking, try to select words very carefully and try to speak as less as possible.

Yes, it is possible to be kind, disciplined and truthful.

Regards,

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Hi - Almost everything has been said already. My 2 cents - once one has decided to do business, it is a duty to ensure that its stakeholders' needs are met. Stakeholders of course include customers, investors, vendors, employees, regulatory bodies and the business owner too. Striking the balance, being detached, working towards the aim of improving the lives of the stakeholders, executing as one's duty - these would be some principles. Hope that vibes with you.

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Although not easy, business can be run in a spiritual manner. A business can earn lots of profits and still act with truthfulness, honesty, treat employees and customers with respect and so on. Even if a business is huge and has to do layoffs, it can be done with respect and certain level of mindfulness and care. 

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