For the past 10 years, Tatjana Stankovic is Member of Board of the Directors of PXD System International, company for distribution of products for health and education of people. She has been in the business for 15 years, with previous sales experience in few other companies. She is one of the best students in the history of Mechanical Engineering at the University of St. Cyril and Methodius, in Skopje, Macedonia.
Akrura: Definitely there is a clear and strong connection between spirituality and business. There are a spiritual laws of success that some of the famous teachers today promote and teach. And there are basically many principles that are very spiritual and that are used in business education, business training, sales training, etc. And they are not always given credit as being spiritual.
So we have heard of ethical business and spirituality in the workplace. We see many courses that basically teach how to live and work in the mode of goodness. And goodness is basis for spirituality.
Q: As I understand from you there is a connection between business and spirituality. But now the question is why there is connection between business and spirituality and why this connection is very close?
A: It’s very simple. Life is an indivisible whole. We are not one-sided or one-dimensional beings. We have at least four dimensions and some people say there is more. I want to propose four human capacities or four human needs that are part of our life. One of them is spiritual side, another is physical side (it refers to our body, our physical well-being, our health), another is mental (how our mind and intelligence work, how we use our creativity), and the forth is emotional side (how we relate to other people, how we express love, how we receive love).
So, life is a whole, and every area affects the other area. Like if you have a car with four wheels, if one wheel breaks, the car will go for some time but ultimately you have to stop and fix it. Similarly, if any of these four areas doesn’t work, other three areas are affected and one has to look at the area that does not work and do something about it.
Q: Does that mean that business cannot function without spirituality?
A: Business can function without spirituality or spiritual principles but not for a long time. We see that people who neglect those principles of success they run for some time but after a while the business fails and stops functioning.
There are many examples of this. There was a restaurant which started neglecting their clients. In the beginning, they were very kind and sensitive and considerate of their clients but then they became big and became proud. They neglected the principle of customer care and the quality of the products. They started buying cheap food and slowly the quality of the preparations went down. Actually it happened when new management came and they wanted to be very efficient and to exploit the clients and slowly this business was closed, because they neglected the very principle that brought them initial success.
Q: I have a friend whom I was trying to explain that one has to be a better person every day, more and more, to be more successful in business. And this is spiritual principle as I know. And he told me this is not possible because I have so many friends that I know and they have money, but they are acting and behaving so ugly that I cannot understand. They talk to people very ugly, they have not good communication with their family, they don’t communicate well with their employees, they do ugly things but still the business works. How is that possible? These people have money.
A: This is a very good, very practical question and the answer is very simple. They are spending their accumulated credits. By the way they acted in the past they created some good karma or good credits and now it seems like they don’t have to follow this principles anymore and they can do whatever they like. They can even act in such a bad way and still seem to be successful.
Whoever is successful and at the same time he seems to be breaking the laws of success, the spiritual laws of success, their success is temporary. If you want long-term success, which can even go beyond this lifetime, than you have to follow these laws of success.
Thus an intelligent businessman wants long-term success. He wants clients who are lifetime clients, not “one sale, one deal” clients. And these kinds of businesses actually become really, really huge.
Q: Now the next question that is like a result of this previous question is: Is there a possibility that without spirituality the business can be honest and in virtue?
A: Actually virtue or goodness is spiritual, it comes from spirituality, so business cannot be successful long-term without this.
We see that even nowdays politicians are taking advice from high-class leadership teachers and experts. And we know that in politics there is a lot of corruption and a lot of cheating. And of course these teachers will not encourage that. They will not tell them: “Continue with your corruption strategy and your strategy of being a very smart cheater!” They will teach them, for example, about trust. There is one expert on trust who was engaged by the American government to help. As soon as you start speaking of trust, trust is a spiritual principle.
Now, what is trust? How can somebody be trusted? How they can be trustworthy?
There are two thing in order to trust someone, character and competence. So, if person has a good character, he is well meaning, well wishing, he is a person who has good qualities, their communication is very friendly and kind and patient and polite, we can trust him. But it’s not enough to trust him completely. They have to show competence. For example, if you are competent consultant or expert in anything like dentist or a surgeon, then people can trust you.
You can be a good guy but if you don’t know what to do, if you always pull out the wrong tooth, we cannot trust you. On the other hand, you can be very expert in doing some technical work or some manual work but if you always charge more, or there is hidden expenses, etc., we cannot trust you. So, there has to be both character and competence in order for someone to trust us. And that is a spiritual principle.
Q: What is the best way to use these principles of spirituality in business? And can you name some of the principles that can be used?
A: I already mentioned trust. Trust is also related to integrity and honesty. Very important thing in business and in life is to make and keep promises. If you want to build trust, you make and keep promises. If you promised that your product will help me and then it doesn’t help me, then you know you are not keeping your promise. Or we have to see why it doesn’t help. Maybe I’m not using it in a right way, maybe you need to train me and educate me how to use it properly, so that I get the results I want.
Another very, important principle, spiritual principle in business is Win-Win, looking for a mutual benefit in all interactions. And Win-Win approach ensures long-term relationship, long-term mutual benefit.
And we see that this also influences marketing. Your marketing investment and the expense will be much smaller if your approach to business is Win-Win, because your own clients will become your free marketing force. They will bring you other clients because they are satisfied and they will recommend your services and products. Seeking mutual benefit in all dealings is goodness. And goodness is very close to spirituality.
These are only few but there is many more.
Q: Do you have an example where spiritual principles bring better business results?
A: I will give you a very famous example I believe many business people or business leaders are aware of: the work of Jim Collins. He has written the book “Good to Great“, which is a study of how good companies became great and how they stayed great. And this is very pragmatic, nothing idealistic. There are very tangible measures and proofs how companies remained great for many, many years. His criteria of selecting great companies were very rigid.
I remember two of the companies: Wallgreens, an American company not so much present in Europe, and Gillette. Gillette everybody knows. They have shaving creams, shavers, and other things. He has named eleven companies, which actually fitted into the highly rigid criteria of being a great company.
So what we see there is again something that is related to being trustworthy. They had character and competence.
For example, Jim Collins has developed a concept of Level-Five Leader, someone who has strong professional will and also humility. This was the result of his study. These leaders were amazing leaders. They were “helpers of thousand geniuses”.
We also have a phenomenon of a Celebrity Leader, who is basically a “genius with thousand helpers”. Great companies had leaders who are Level-Five and they were helpers of thousand geniuses. They had people on their teams who were amazing and they were not putting themselves first, as Celebrity Leaders do.
This study is very practical, you can read it. It is a tangible proof, how spiritual principles work in business and how they make companies great.
Q: Does this all mean that there is no result if there is no spirituality in the business?
A: As I said, results can be there. You can have results but very important criterion of measurement is – for how long? You can be successful for some time but you cannot be successful long-term if you are breaking spiritual laws of success.
Q: Is it more important to educate people that work for the company to become more spiritual, or it is more important when you have communication with your clients to respect spiritual principles? Or both?
A: In order to be successful in this world, which has its spiritual side and its material side, we need both. We need the synergy of material and spiritual. And one principle which I will first describe in Sanskrit is very powerful principle. It is called yukta vairagya. It comes from a very wonderful spiritual teacher from the 15th Century, Rupa Gosvami. And he says that you can use anything from the material world but use it to benefit others. Use it well. Don’t use it to exploit others. Don’t use it for anything bad. In this way we can use unlimited resources that we can get, unlimited money, unlimited materials, equipment, if we use it for good purposes. In this way we can benefit others, benefit ourselves and our usage of material things will be spiritually-based. So we need both, we need the synergy of spiritual and material.
Q: What is the best way to introduce spirituality in business to people? Is there a certain technique or coaching seminar or mixed method or everyday briefing of people? What is the best way to introduce it and the easiest one for them to understand on both levels?
A: In order to introduce spiritual principles to people we need to educate them regularly, not only one seminar a year but at least one seminar a month with the follow up coaching and personal consultation.
For example, this interview is already an introduction and what I am presenting here for our readers is the benefits of spirituality in business. What is the benefit? The benefit is that you get better results. Especially you get better long-term results and better holistic results; results in all areas, not only in making money. I believe that most of the business people want long-term results and therefore they would be interested.
Spirituality in business is not some idealistic dream. It’s actually something very practical and practical means results. Everybody wants results and if there is a way to achieve short- and long-term results I believe people would be interested.
Q: Is it possible that the main founder and the director and the main board of the company is not in virtue and doesn’t practice the principle of spirituality but besides that, they want to introduce this to the people that work and are involved into the process? Is it possible that the leader of the company, the founder, directors, are not spiritually educated and they still want to educate the people that work in the company about spiritual principles?
A: This is a very good question and I believe that this is often a case. In my seminars also I ask the question “How many of you think that people who need to hear this are not here?” Many raise their hands.
In my work with people around the world I actually come to companies and institutions, and teach and then the main guys, the top guys are not there. They encourage the people to go to the seminar, they like their people to hear about this but they are not there. And of course most of the people think that the people at the top are the ones who should hear it most. So what to do in this situation?
You can start the transformation, you can start the turnaround, you can start change from any part of the company, from any individual in the company. This principle is called trim tab. Trim tab is a small rudder (steering wheel) on a boat. It can turn completely the direction of a ship although it goes slower than with the big one.
Let’s say that this trim tab is a person who has small influence. But if they start to do the right thing, if they start to apply these powerful principles, gradually, their positive influence will spread and they will contribute to creating a culture that is based on those sound principles.
Of course, there is a great advantage if the top management is supportive. But even if they are not, the culture will spread and these leaders just either have to leave and go somewhere else or change. The change can come from any part of the company and the results can happen and they can be visible.
Q: After all these questions, is there something that we didn’t mention and you think it’s important to mention?
A: Yes, thank you for this question. What I’m telling you, you have probably heard from many teachers. There are teachers who are more clearly pointing out the spiritual side of life and the spiritual side of business. Some teachers are doing it in a more hidden way, some teachers even mention religiosity.
Like, for example, Ken Blanchard, the author of “One Minute Manager”. He is working with one minister or priest on a project called “Lead Like Jesus”. So, he is clearly expressing his faith in God and the importance of that connection. But most of the teachers are quite reserved about mentioning something that is to me, actually, key to success. And what I mean is higher connection and support.
The point is that we are not the only doer. We can do everything right but we are not the one who ultimately controls the results of our efforts and actions.
So if that is the case, what we can do and what we can benefit from by listening and following different teachers is – we can increase the probability of our success by aligning ourselves with the timeless principles, the spiritual laws of success. Still, even this doesn’t guarantee a 100 percent success.
There has to be a higher connection. And there has to be a link to universal management, and universal connection, and natural laws, and we have to see whether life and universe and God is allowing us to have results.
One distinction of the famous book of wisdom Bhagavad-gita as the ultimate success guide is that it describes five factors of action and results. And one of them is the Supersoul. This is the factor of success that is neglected and often success teachers do not even mention it. And they give us impression that we are almighty and that with our efforts and the right alignment with the laws of success we are going to be successful.
Q: How can this connection between us and God be introduced to people that are 100 percent involved in mater and don’t see more than that?
A: We can help people see more clearly the spiritual side of life and because everybody is a spiritual being they already have a sense of spirituality in them. It is not something that we have to impose on them.
How the spiritual side of life and this kind of connection already manifests in the lives of everyone, or the general mass of people? For example, one is intuition. People can have that sense, on the inside, about certain things.
Then there is a paranormal phenomena, things that are completely against known laws but are happening. There is so-called accidents, or there is synchronicity, there is serendipity. There is all this phenomena that is out of ordinary, out of the laws that we know, and indicates that there is some separate reality, there is something higher. And nowadays more and more people, with so many books on success, happiness and spirituality, think that there must be something else.
They are thinking deeper or higher and many people are ready to learn more about spiritual principles and higher dimensions of life.
Q: A quick message to our readers who want to make the connection between spirituality and business?
A: Our quick message is that if you understand that you are a spiritual being then the number of possibilities for you increases and the potential that you have will be much more released. You will realize that you have much more potential than you are using right now and that you can achieve much more: you can be more happy, and you can make other people more happy, if you become open to learn about other dimensions of life and other sources of knowledge, strength and skill.
Q: Thank you for these straight answers because I’ve been in business for ten years and I always felt that there is a connection, but I didn’t know how to explain the principles. Thank you for these very clear explanations about the strong connection that definitely exists.
A: My pleasure.