Corporate World: Jungle Or Paradise?

The road to the top is not easy, it is bumpy and dirty. Along the way, we meet interesting creatures. There are seasons in life when we will be at crossroads and choose a path based on what is important in our life. Either way may lead us to our goal, but the means to get there is different. While we have control over the choices we make, we don't have control over the consequences. The cost of our actions are governed by natural and spiritual laws that were set in place a long time ago.

The corporate world is the playing field where we work to achieve our goals. It is a place where people earn their living and individuals make a name for themselves. It is also the arena where companies compete or collaborate to stay in business. With the changing trends brought by globalization, businesses are shifting its strategy to be efficient and productive. Professionals, therefore, must adapt to these changes and aspire for continuity of employment rather than job security.

Likewise, in an organization, individuals compete with each other to get a piece of the available resources. While competition is not necessarily bad, it affects the behavior of people. As Francis J. Kong, renowned speaker and author, said in his speech at Asian Institute of Management during the launching of John Maxwell's lecture in Manila, "the corporate world can either make you a better person or otherwise".

A "jungle", that's how a friend described the culture in his organization. "Men, they will eat you alive", he continued. It is a place where only the strongest thrives, a place where you have to constantly watch your back, a place where you're not sure whose on your side and whose not. He also said "you have to learn how to paddle your own canoe; do not expect help and assistance from your peers. If you can not survive on your own, you will never make it."

Are you in a similar situation? Is there a proactive way in dealing with the above mentioned culture?

Norman Vincent Peale once said "change your thoughts and you change the world"

In response to the question, first, we have to understand the existing paradigm and second, explore an alternative paradigm.

The Prevailing Paradigm

Because everyone wants a piece of the available resources and they perceive management as not being fair, professionals become competitive and have taken aggressive actions to get what they want.

Since management controls the purse, getting their attention in any means is the primary objective of all stakeholders.

In some organization, rank and file employees get organize to compel management to enter into a collective bargaining agreement.

But middle management employees have taken an individual approach, rather than the collective approach of the ranks. This group resorted to individual competition to secure a better place in the organization, or better compensation package. While some will compete according to the rules, others may resort to dirty tricks to get what they want.

In this paradigm, the people looked up to management as the only most powerful person or group whose favor or wrath can make or break an employee.

The ancient proverb is correct when it says:

Many try to win the favor of rulers. And everyone is the friend of a man who give gifts. Prov. 19:6 (NIrV)

Because of this, the people in the bottom and middle of the organization will explore all means to get something from management. Sometimes, the time-honored rules are respected, sometimes its not. People use charm, sex, deception and even violence just to attain their goal.

The Alternative Paradigm

Is there a more powerful group than management who can offset political activity?

If we will include the Supreme Being and place him above management, a new paradigm will bring a sense of order and stillness to those who will believe. If employees believe that the Supreme Being is fair-- rewards or reprimands a person according to what he does, his behavior will change.

Those in leadership position will be careful in the exercise of his management prerogatives because he is now accountable to a more powerful person who sees not only his actions, but his motives as well. On the other hand, the people beneath, will not take matters to their own hands. The thought that a just and powerful being is in control will enable the people in the middle and bottom of the organization to respect authority. The trust brought by the presence of the Supreme Being will bring balance with the expectation that justice will be served.

This paradigm, however, can't be legislated because faith is a personal choice. As an individual believes, his mindset and behavior will also change. Legislation will only establish the do's and dont's but intentions can not change. Just like the old story of a father and daughter which I often heard as illustration from the teachings of Dr. David Sumrall, Undershepherd of Cathedral of Praise in Manila, Philippines:

"The father said to his daughter, sit down, the daughter replied, no I will not. The Father got angry and said sit down! No I won't! The daughter shouted back. So the father forced her to sit down and said now you are sitting down. The daughter replied I may be physically sitting down but deep inside my heart I am still standing".

This paradigm explores the principles of Spiritual Intelligence, it is not meant to turn the business enterprise to a religious institution but to synchronize business culture and behavior to that of the natural laws.

Spiritual Intelligence is "wisdom", if recognized and observed, this will help professionals make better decisions, and in the process, take them to their goal minus the stress brought by unorthodox methods. Furthermore, this paradigm when at work, can influence the culture of an organization.

So is the corporate world a jungle or bliss? It's in the paradigm of the beholder.

Sonnie E. Santos
HR Manager & Trainer

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