Martin Rutte - spirituality in the workplace


    Bringing Spirit to Work

    1991, by Martin Rutte and Maurice L. Monette

    An increasing number of our consulting clients are expressing concern about the lack of fulfillment they experience at work. Perhaps this current of feeling flows from the fact that so many corporate baby boomers are reaching mid-life and are asking if life has more to offer than the achievement of position and the acquisition of the material.

    Mid-life has certainly led the two of us to search for the source of creativity that will enable us to be, in both our corporate as well as personal worlds, more fulfilled, productive and enriched. What we have discovered is spiritual values in the workplace.

    By spiritual values we mean those values that lie at the core of our humanity . . . that come from our deepest-highest self.

    Is it possible for a business to be both profitable and spiritual at the same time? Can business people be both productive and spiritually fulfilled? Are we talking about mixing oil and water or is there a new dimension, a new perspective that can be opened and explored?

    However the question of spiritual values is examined, highly charged issues arise that threaten to block deeper exploration and the discovery of any underlying and revealing insights. Among these issues are fear of people being dogmatic and the conflicts that would arise, taboos against discussing religion in the workplace, the separation of church and state, freedom of religion, and unreflected childhood notions of the Divine.

    In raising the question, we, as Jew and Catholic, are not necessarily advocating a religious or theological point of view as the answer. We realize that 'spiritual values' means different things to different people. We raise the question because in our experience we have found that by engaging and exploring it we tap a powerful source of deep fulfillment and creativity.

    Such new approaches in modern management theory as productivity and quality improvement, human motivation, team work and systems perspectives have markedly enhanced effectiveness. We believe that yet another dimension needs to be taken into consideration . . . one that relates management to fundamental matters of the spirit which lie at the heart of all being.

    If one of the trends in the workplace is to include and involve the whole person, not just his or her working role, then this can surely be expanded to include spiritual values.

    We and others are beginning to imagine working in an environment that encourages, respects and appreciates peoples' discovery and living of their spiritual values . . . an environment that does not impose a point of view but allows for a diversity of expression of individual life purposes.

    We believe that within this spiritual frame the 'bottom line' would be profitable, just and non-exploitive; productivity would be at once high, deeply satisfying, and responsive to world problems; and personal and corporate leadership would guide inspired by an appreciation of both the temporal as well as the infinite.

    Perhaps as an innovative CEO/manager you will gather in a quiet setting with your colleagues, explore the question of spirituality in your business and discover the value of including and enhancing it within your organization.

    By engaging this question in its fullness, we believe it is possible to participate in a meaningful and relevant renaissance of spirit at work.

    Maurice L. Monette is an Executive Coach in Oakland, California (510) 628-0800
    Martin Rutte is President, Livelihood, Santa Fe, New Mexico (505) 466-1510