Spirituality in Workplace LO20285

W.M. Deijmann (winfried@universal.nl)
Wed, 30 Dec 1998 22:20:48 +0100

reply to LO20218 (John Zavacki)

I apologize for a delayed reply, but hope never the less that it
contributes to the spirituality thread.
John wrote in reply to Winfried:

>>It is not the place of the industrial manager (of which I am one) to teach
>>religion (a common misinterpretation of spirituality) in the workplace, in
>>particular, not in the Southern half of the US Mid-West. For every belief
>>here, there is a separate church. One church believes firmly that Pharoah's
>>daughter found Moses in the bullrushes. The next broke off from it, because
>>they believe that's just what she told Pharoah.<<

The situation you describe is pretty much the same as in Holland. In total
we have more than hundred confessions, all seperated from separations.
Everywhere where separatism appears, spirituality disappears. It is
interesting that many people connect spirituality (religion/confession)
with thinking: with certain confessions, with fixated interpretations of
words and strong assumptions. But IMO spirituality is connected to the
human will. And will is in its turn the invissible complement of vissible
behaviour. So looking on the quote below from your hand I think that we

>>Spirtituality is the sum of teachings and learnings in many arenas. It is
>>best understood behaviourally. Do unto others and love thy neighbour are some
>>of the highest visibility behaviours which result. They cannot be seen as an
>>integral part of one sect, or even one religion. By practicing them as
>>principles (along with many other principles which are or should be a part of
>>the community) the community becomes stronger, more spiritual.<<

Old religious confessions are developed by reading religious books.
Christians read the Old and New Testament, In India people read
theBaghavad Ghita, In the Araic countries they read the Koran, etc. These
books contain prescribed values comming from an higher authority. It
doesn't give much space to freedom of thought.

Modern Spirituality is developed and maintained by impressions from
cultural and biographical events. If religion works 'from the outside in',
spirituality works 'from the inside out'. It is another kind of gesture.

As a todler I enjoyed fairy tales from Grimm, Andersen and the likes. As a
young boy I enjoyed stories. Especialy those books that described exciting
adventures and couragious acts. In my puberty years I read about the great
inventions and worldexplorers; In my adolescenct years I was very much
impressed by (auto-)biographies of scientists, great artists and great
leaders. Fairy tales, adventures, biographies, they all left small drops
of spirituality in my soul.

Looking back at my education I have learned very little or nothing from
those teachers who were 'pure in the teachings of religion', but I learned
most of those teachers that were great storytellers. And they were great
storytellers because they could tap into a universal spiritual resource
that had become their own. It's not the words that matter, but where they
come from and what they do to people. 'Good' words mobilize our will
instead of our minds.

John continues in his posting:

>Look at Stephen Covey's "Principle Centered Leadership" or Deming's
>"New Economics". They are full of the spirit, but rarely, if at all,
>mention it. I realize many of this group work either in academia or as
>consultants. You have the ability to appear to the student or the client
>as gods. You can preach heresy and they will think about it. In the
>industrial environment, it is a different tale. The reporting structure
>is not always enlightened. The union leadership may see the spirit as a
>threat to its authority. There are many other problems along the way. I
>teach principles and behaviours,
> for the most part, by example,
> with my staff, through dialogue,
> with my leadership, by exception.
>If I speak of the spirit, I will lose ground unless that ground is
>already sprouting the seeds of awareness that teamwork breeds respect,
>honesty, openness, etc.
>The teaching cannot be the goal, it must be the learning.

IMO you (and anyone else ofcourse) will not lose ground if you teach
principles and show behaviours (by example, by dialogue or by exception)
out of a spiritual ownership. Spiritual ownership can only be achieved in
an environment of freedom, because individuals can only learn in freedom.
Making a small sidestep: Continuous active practizing of the arts creates
free space for learning and results in free ownership of spirituality.

So the core question for leadership is: Do I have ownership over my

In my ten years of working with artistic approaches in business, nine out
of ten managers experienced inner blokkages or even fear to start to
express themselves artistically. I have also experienced that those who
overcame the blokkages, were able to tap in unknown resources and
experienced a whole new kind of spirituality.

Many managers fail in their attempts to be leaders because they haven't
discovered their own spiritual source (yet).

What most managers have learned on their universities can be compaired
with what most horseriders have learned in riding-school: They have
learned to sit on a moving horse, but they haven't learnt how the animal
thinks and senses.

Speaking of the spirit means IMO to tell stories about what has happened
in your life, about dreams and expectations, hopes and fears. To do so,
without getting burnt on the stake, you first must have explored and
worked through the secrets of your own biography.

Asking Author's to come forward with their spirituality is asking by what
, by whom, how and when they were inspired to what they did.

New Years Greetings from Holland to you all!

Winfried Deijmann


Mr. Winfried M. Deijmann - Deijmann & Partners - Zutphen - The Netherlands Artists, Consultants and Facilitators for Organizational Learning, Leadership and Action Learning Events Het Zwanevlot 37, NL 7206 CB Zutphen, The Netherlands <Winfried@universal.nl> Phone: +31-(0)575-522076 mobile: +31-(0)654 94 71 27 Homepage: <http://www.come.to/dialoog>

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"An educated mind is useless without a focussed will and dangerous without a loving heart" (unknown source)

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