Sunday, March 05, 2006

Meditation for Better Business

Management and Meditation
CEOs use meditation to master the art of becoming a better boss, proving peace and prosperity do go together


In Australia, top level executives are finding their "Buddha nature" in the practice and disciplines of Tibetan meditation.

Last week, 28 top business leaders flocked to their annual Buddhist retreat, a two-day event led by Tibetan master Sogyal Rinpoche. The author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, teaches these executives the ancient practice and disciplines of Buddhist meditation. And it’s not just altering their consciousness, it’s affecting their bottom line!

Attendee Gordon Cairns, CEO of Lion Nathan, tells a New Zealand publication that he was "a horrible boss – driven by power, task-oriented and only concerned with getting the job done, whatever the cost" prior to beginning his meditation practice in 1999.

"That was bad for me, bad for the company – because really good people didn't want to work for me – and bad for my family. I'm glad to say that has changed." Cairns, former chief executive of Lion Nathan, has been on AFR BOSS magazine's True Leaders list two years in a row. He attributes this to meditation.

According to reports, between November 2000 and November 2004, with Cairns at the helm, Lion Nathan shares rose by 109 per cent and the company delivered total returns of 145 per cent, outperforming the broader market by 110 per cent. He’s since left the company and taken on a role as director of Westpac, the Seven Network and Opera Australia, where people describe him as "affable", "likeable" and "easygoing."

The benefits of meditation have been known in the West for more than three decades. Science increasingly shows the beneficial effect it has on the immune system, relieving anxiety and creating a greater capacity in the brain for happiness.

Other equally successful attendees of the seminar note their inspirational figures as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and the Tibetan masters themselves.

"Oftentimes, the compassionate answer or decision will be much harder than the ruthless or expedient answer," one told the paper.

"I would sooner follow someone capable of empathy, of listening and who had the company's overall interest at heart, than someone out for their own gain" said another.

Seems peace and prosperity do go hand in hand.

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