“Understanding the Human Factor – the Competitive Differential in the Era of Excellence” was the title of a recent event on human resources whose colourful brochure arrived on my desk. Opening it up, I found that the organizers wanted to go even deeper into “Bringing out the Essential Values of Being.” Other such invitations for events and training sessions on “Spirituality at Work”, “The Human Being and Organisational Transformation”, “The Human Side of Quality”, “New Values in Organisations”, “Quality of Life at Work”, arrive by mail ou e-mail. They certainly reveal how far we have come in our grappling with the most basic aspects of our reflections on the direction of work and the worker for the new millennium. Seeing the pretensions couched in such themes, I wondered if they would really take them up with the required seriousness and depth, or if they would be just another of the many talk-fests I have participated in over the years. Would they be just one more round of pleasant exchanges of clichés about how change in human beings is important, how the correct consciousness is essential to face our many challenges, how it is important to implant the new paradigms that will take us towards further glory and success? Etc.
We take our seats in the sessions of these courses and events in the hope that “this time will be different”, mainly because our time and resources are short. We have more important things to do than to lose hours hearing yet again about the new behaviour demanded by the present difficulties that perhaps not even the presenter puts into practice. After the enthusiasm provoked by the rhetoric, jokes and exhortations for a culture of change, we return to the reality of our day-to-day carousel with the reinforced conviction that it is easier to speak about change than to bring it to our lives. After all, we are also one of these human beings that “needs to discover and develop his or her own values” It is great to make lists of the values so necessary to a working professional, but to practice them demands extra power and self-discipline that we may not have access to. To think that it is the “others” at my work (and not me) who have to be rescued from their ignorance and lack of initiative ends up being a very expensive mistake. Any change starts with my own change.
To hear from someone else, yet again, that we have to change begins to seem like disrespect for the effort that we have already done. How easy it is to list the values that a good professional needs at the beginning of the new millennium — agility, flexibility, sensibility, courage, respect, co-operation, detachment from the past and so many others. If I try to imagine someone with all these virtues developed fully I cannot envisage a human being but an angel. Perhaps it’s not such a bad idea after all; to be an angel. At least I wouldn’t have to worry so much with God around to give me a hand whenever the going got tough.
This is an extract from the introduction to his book "Endoquality: The Emotional and Spiritual Dimensions of the Human Being in Organizations" in which he introduced the concept of Spiritual Intelligence, published by Editora Casa da Qualidade (1997).