By Baldwin Tom
There are seven types of investments available to every organization, and each has its use in growing a business. Organizations grow or die with investments. Used poorly or ignored, investments can destroy a business. Of all the investments, spiritual capital is special. Spiritual capital is the single investment that catalyzes all of the others. When there is robust investment on the spiritual side within an organization, there are significant transformative changes possible because, not only do people care about their jobs and the company, people also want to contribute beyond their job descriptions. Spiritual capital not only serves as a catalyst for other investments, it serves as an internal power source to motivate people to work harder and smarter for an organization. This in turn creates energy in organizations along with positive results that follow.
How is the word spiritual defined? It is not defined in a religious context, nor part of an organized belief system. From various sources, this is spiritual: It is about emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or artistic performance; it has to do with human personality—intellect, will, and emotions; it consists of mind, character, thoughts, and feelings; and in Christian circles, one considers mind, will, and emotion as a definition of the soul of a person.If leaders build a culture around what is meaningful for their people, there is a high potential for new energy release leading to creativity and innovation Click To Tweet
Can we suggest that when investing in spiritual capital, one is engaging the soul of an organization? It is no wonder that spiritual capital investments have tremendous impact in and on organizations. The catalytic potential of spiritual capital is broad. For example, when spiritual capital is coupled with human capital, the investments support enhanced leadership and management, and support a competitive edge from people who build intellectual capital with social interactions that lead to fostering collaborations. When spiritual capital and relationship capital are invested, the culture of an organization is altered to favor resiliency as this generates a culture of caring and support for each other—establishing a desirable workplace. In a real way, it is about taking care of people so they care about the organization and its customers. There is tremendous creative energy in such environments. Just look at some of the technology companies where the norm is to provide employee-friendly needs, like food, health, rest and recreation, at no additional cost to the employee—and during the work day at that! Think Google.
In addition to the organizational implications, a most important aspect of spiritual capital investment is that it encourages people to action. People act from a spiritual foundation with higher motivations in doing good rather than making money. It is about long-term benefits rather than short-term profits. It’s about improving the quality of life. It’s about making a difference in peoples’ lives as a primary goal. Sounds like that’s how the current millennial generation is characterized, where accumulating material things is not a focus, but on spiritual capital that provides internal nourishment.
Interesting observation: The healthcare industry has been legislated to move from a fee-based (monetary-focus) to a value-based (people-focused) compensation system. This is looking like moving to spiritual capital investments from financial investments of the past. This is a good thing.
How do Spiritual Capital investments keep giving?
- Self-sustaining: As the aspects of spiritual capital become embedded in the DNA of an organization, those new norms continue to remind people what the organization stands for and is willing to do to support their efforts. Everything that leadership does, by their words and actions, in an organization that values people leads to a confidence that peoples’ efforts in helping to do better will be appreciated. This belief is contagious and will spur others to do likewise. For example, if people are acknowledged and/or rewarded for taking initiatives to improve products, services, or processes, such recognition becomes a powerful incentive to do it yet again. Everyone loves a pat on the back from time to time. Benefit? Employees love working here because they are respected for who the are and what they can do. Leadership loves working here because they have highly motivated staff who they know will do what it takes to improve on what they do.
- Self-leveraging: The high energy and high morale that results from successful high-level efforts is infectious. This spurs others to also step out beyond their comfort zones in support of the organization and its customers. In life, competition is built into our personalities. If you can do it, I can do it too! Even if an effort falls short of expectations, there is no reprimand, just guidance to do better next time. In an ideal work environment, our innate desire to please our superiors creates a pattern of continuous improvement, as each success is recognized. Benefit? Employees believe that this is a place where they can grow and advance as long as they take the initiative to help themselves excel. When people see a future, they are happier employees.
- Renewable energy: Each time a person engages in this environment, they know they are supported and are valued. This understanding reminds them of the support that will come from the organization and rekindles their willingness to do more. Success breeds success! Renewable power is stored in an organization from the energy generated by the efforts of those who stepped out to improve their condition beyond their job description. New energy is created by others when they believe that the organization is consistent and will continue to honor its ways to support the environment established by investing in spiritual capital. When the organization helps employees to succeed, employees help the organization to better serve their customers. A clear win-win scenario!
- Fills (supports, energizes) the soul: The collective energy permeates the organization and is captured in its processes, procedures, interactions, events, and standard operating procedures. The culture becomes one of doing good for people while doing well financially, a collective win for all concerned. An overall feeling of well-being is created when there is coherency in values and belief—when walking-the-talk and talking-the-walk are in synchrony. There is a strong positive feeling working in an organization where one does not have to be guarded in what they say and do. An organization that has strong spiritual capital investments exudes positive vibes to everyone concerned. Visitors can feel the positive nature of the environment. Benefit? Employees love working here because they have pride in what the organization stands for and how it helps people, including themselves. Leadership loves working here because there is satisfaction in seeing people they lead excel.
It is clear that if leaders build a culture around what is meaningful for their people, there is a high potential for new energy release leading to creativity and innovation. Effectively, focusing on building spiritual capital brings into alignment the values of the people and those of the enterprise. This catalyzes your company for transformational change—ultimately moving to new plateaus of success.
Baldwin Tom is a management consultant, professional speaker, and author of 1+1=7: How Smart Leaders Make 7 Investments to Maximize Value. A medical school scientist, professor, leadership program developer, and founder of an award winning science and technology firm, he leverages his experiences in those fields to provide insight and strategies to fit client needs. Baldwin is a Certified Management Consultant and served as the National Board Chair of the Institute of Management Consultants USA. For more information on Baldwin Tom, please visit www.geoddgroup.com.