Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I came across this interesting interview with Marshall Goldsmith, who is incorporating Buddha principles in his consulting practise with a high degree of success. Enjoy!

Suffice it to say that Marshall Goldsmith is a world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, measurable change in behavior: for themselves, their people and their teams. The American Management Association named Marshall as one of the 50 great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over the past 80 years. He has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Business Strategy Review and the aforementioned New Yorker profile. The Wall Street Journal named him one of the top ten executive educators. Forbes calls him one of the five most respected executive coaches. The Economist states Marshall is one of the most credible consultants in the new era of business. The Business Times of Asia and Fast Company label Marshall as the preeminent executive coach. Dr. Goldsmith is on the faculty of executive education programs at Dartmouth, Michigan and Cambridge Universities. He is a founding director of A4SL - The Alliance for Strategic Leadership. He is a founder of the Russell Reynolds executive advisors network. He is a partner with Hewitt Associates in providing global executive coaching. He has also served as a member of the Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for ten years.

We start the interview by asking Marshall Goldsmith about the title to this interview, "Life Is Good."

Zen and Business: I know you end your emails with "Life Is Good" and I know this is prominent on your website and such. Tell us why life is good?

Marshall Goldsmith: There are many schools of Buddhist thought. I would guess that the diversity in Buddhist beliefs is even greater than the diversity in Christian philosophies. My Buddhist philosophy can be summarized in three simple words, "Be happy now." In my mind, this is heaven, this is hell and this is Nirvana. It is not "out there." It is "in here." The great Western disease is "I'll be happy when..." This is fueled by our prevailing art form - the commercial. The commercial says, "You are unhappy. You spend money. You become happy!" I don't believe that anyone can become happy by having more. I also don't believe that anyone can become happy by having less. We can only find happiness and satisfaction with what we have. Life is good when we make it good. I also sign my emails this way to remind myself (and hopefully to help others).

Zen and Business: I want to ask you about your executive coaching and your thoughts on the integration of your practice and business, but, let's go back to the beginning here and let us know how you got involved with your Zen practice. Give us some background.

Marshall Goldsmith: I was a "hippie" in the late '60's and early '70's. During this period, I studied a variety of Eastern philosophies. During the early to mid-'70's, I decided that Buddhism was the right way for me. My favorite teacher is Thich Nhat Hanh. I have had the opportunity to spend a week at his center in France, Plum Village, and also some time in Escondido, California. I just had his painting done by a wonderful artist. It is now in my home. It is a great inspiration! We are going to donate the prints from this painting to his favorite charities.

Zen and Business: Can you tell us when and how you began to see some integration with your practice and your life's work in leadership, coaching and such?

Marshall Goldsmith: My coaching philosophy is based upon Buddhist principles. I believe that we have no "fixed identity" but instead we are ever changing. My coaching approach involves helping people let go of the past and focus on becoming what they want to become. I pioneered a concept called "feedforward" which is the essence of my coaching philosophy. My original article on Feedforward has been republished at least nine times. This concept has been taught to thousands of leaders around the world. As I have grown older, I have "come out of the closet" with my Buddhist beliefs. One event help me in this transition. I was working with a group of hard-charging investment bankers. One banker grunted, "Will this shit help us make any more money?" I thought about this question and replied, "I think so. This will help you lead in a manner that is consistent with your companies values. Your own top management believes that this will ultimately help your company become more successful." Then I decided to take a risk. I said, "But personally, I don't care so much whether your bank makes more money. My personal mission is to help you - and the people around you - have a happier life." I then asked, "Do you have any objection to this mission?" The banker thought for awhile and said he thought that this was a fine mission. I have since asked thousands of leaders if they had any objection to my mission. So far, not one person has objected!

Zen and Business: Can you talk about your approach to Zen and draw some parallels between this "Zen Leadership" and the "Business Leadership" in today's business world. Are there any parallels?

Marshall Goldsmith: My approach to Zen has a lot of applications in behavioral coaching (which is what I do). I not only work with my clients, I work with all of their key stakeholders. I try to help key stakeholders let go of preconceived notions and be open to the fact that everyone can change. I don't try to make anyone change. I only ask people to "do what works for them" in the way that Buddha suggested.

Zen and Business: Let's dig a little further here. In your coaching you do state you do not try to make anyone change. You only ask people to do what works for them in the way that Buddha suggested. Can you elaborate on this - what did Buddha suggest to the executive about doing what works for them?

Marshall Goldsmith: My understanding of Buddhism is that Buddha suggested that each of us test ideas and only use the ideas that work for us (including his ideas). In my coaching I ask executives to get ideas from many sources and use only the ideas that work for them. I don't try to "convince" or "make" my clients do anything. A key element to understand in coaching very successful people is that they have a very high need for self-determination. The more the motivation comes from them, the greater the probability of positive, long-term change.

Zen and Business: I want to follow-up on this idea that in your coaching you do not try to make anyone change. Why? Isn't change a good thing and is it not necessary for the coach to try and get the person to change?

Marshall Goldsmith: I agree that change can be a very good thing! That is what I do for a living. I help people make the changes that they want to make. I don't try to make or force people to change anything. I only work with people who care. My theory on coaching is "if they don't care - don't waste your time." I only get paid if I achieve results. I don't get paid for spending time. Therefore, I only work with clients who are motivated to change. I don't judge other people (who don't care to change) - I just don't choose to work with them. The people who choose to work with me are very clear about what they are "signing up for" and want to do it. I am sometimes asked if most executives are willing to admit to the need to change, ask for help and follow-up on a regular basis. My answer is, "I don't know. I only work with the ones who want to do this."

Zen and Business: Marshall, one more angle on this idea of "change" and "leading change." Can you tell us how you see change. What is it about change that makes it so important and discuss with us this concept of leading change in the business organization.

Marshall Goldsmith: My area of expertise is helping successful leaders achieve a positive, long-term change in behavior: for themselves, their people and their teams. My practice is focused on micro-level behavioral change, not organizational change. I help leaders make the behavior changes that they believe will lead to increased effectiveness for themselves (which ultimately help the organization).

Zen and Business: You mention how you work with people to make long-term, positive changes in behavior. How does this sit with a business world that is so focused on quarterly results, this month's actuals versus goal and what seems to be a continued micro-management of company's results down to the daily ups and downs. How do you work to make this long term change in such a short term focused business world?

Marshall Goldsmith: I typically work with my clients for 15 to 24 months. The research on behavioral change is clear - change measured over a longer period of time is far more lasting than change measured over a short period of time. Instant "religious conversions" seldom last. "Motivational speeches" seldom have much long-term impact. If people are serious about making long-term change in behavior, they have to make a serious investment. If they don't want to do this, I don't judge them - I just don't work with them. My clients are extremely successful people. Their companies are willing to make a long-term investment in their development.

Zen and Business: I know the clients you work with are successful - you coach many of the top executives and CEO's in the business world today. Do you find an openness to your ideas concerning the integration of Buddha and business?

Marshall Goldsmith: Since I am so widely published, most people who hire me are well aware of what I do and how I do it. They don't have any problems with my approach or philosophy. I really can't say if this is true for the larger population of executives, since those that don't approve of my approach wouldn't call me. In general I believe that our society is more open to different ideas than in the past. I have not felt any negative reaction to me being a Buddhist. Since I have been listed in almost every major publication as one of the top professionals in my field, it doesn't seem to be hurting my career!

Buddha says; "The perfect way knows no difficulties except it refuses to make preferences"


Buddha Speaks Biz

Friday, August 19, 2005


In today's Vancouver Sun, two articles appeared side by side, that could not exemplify more the contrast between what is right and what is wrong with our current state of capitalism. One story was about deceit and fraud and the other was about philanthropy and good deeds. One story was about stealing money and the other about giving it away. So here they are for you to exlpore yourself, and we could aptly title this blog entry; The Corporate Criminal vs The Enlightened Capitalist:

Radler, Hollinger lawyer charged with $32m fraud

Wire fraud, mail fraud charges laid; Radler said to be cooperating with investigators

Peter Brieger and Theresa Tedesco
National Post, with files from the Ottawa Citizen and Bloomberg

August 19, 2005

In the first criminal charges laid in the scandal of Conrad Black's fallen newspaper empire, David Radler, the former president of Hollinger International Inc., was indicted on fraud charges Thursday along with the company's top lawyer and Black's private holding company.

At a news conference in Chicago Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice accused Radler and Mark Kipnis, former in-house lawyer at Hollinger International Inc., of siphoning $32 million US away from the U.S. newspaper company to holding companies controlled by Black and his top lieutenants, including Radler.

The announcement resulted from a two-year probe into business dealings at the media empire, which followed a scandal that began four years ago when an institutional investor started asking questions about management fees paid to Hollinger executives.

"This was a systematic fraud on shareholders," Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said Thursday.

Black himself wasn't named in the indictment, and Fitzgerald sidestepped questions about whether Black will face charges.

"I'm not going to comment on any individuals who haven't been named today," he said. "All I can tell you is the investigation continues and charges will be laid if they're warranted."

Fitzgerald said Radler is cooperating with an ongoing federal investigation. It's also expected, he said, that Radler, 63, will plead guilty at a later date -- a revelation that raises the speculation he will offer testimony against his longtime business ally and friend.

"If Radler is cooperating, it's very significant and is the worst possible news for Conrad Black," Richard Breeden, a former SEC chairman who advised Hollinger International on its civil suit, told Bloomberg News. "The evidence here is overwhelming, and in Radler they've got a very knowledgeable and articulate witness."

Along with Radler and Kipnis, Ravelston was also charged Thursday with seven counts of fraud after a federal grand jury recommended charges be laid, the Justice Department said.

Radler and Kipnis could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 US fine on each count.

Ravelston, which faces a $500,000 US fine for each count in the indictment, filed for bankruptcy protection in April -- a request granted by a Toronto judge who demanded that neither Black nor Radler play any role in running the company.

Last year, a special committee appointed by Hollinger International accused Black, Radler and other senior company executives of siphoning more than $400 million US from the newspaper giant, which has sued Black and his top associates for $542 million.

Hollinger International, based in Chicago, declined to comment on the charges.

In March, Hollinger Inc. launched its own $636-million lawsuit against Black and other past Hollinger executives.

The case against Radler and Kipnis centres on six separate sales of Hollinger International newspaper assets between January 1999 and May 2001 and payments made to the company so it wouldn't open rival publications, known as non-compete fees.

When Hollinger sold Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. for $472 million US in 1999, Radler and other Ravelston "agents" earmarked $50 million US of the proceeds as non-compete payments, $12 million US of which was "fraudulently" transferred to Hollinger Inc., the charges allege.

Four Hollinger International executives, including Radler and Kipnis, paid themselves a bonus in 2001 of $5.5 million US each, which they described as non-compete payments to win tax breaks, defrauding Canadian tax collectors, the charges allege.

In another case, the Hollinger executives paid themselves not to compete with a company that they owned.

"The fraud became more brazen and bold over time," Fitzgerald alleges. "They decided among themselves to pay themselves not to compete with themselves."

The charges come as Black, Radler and others face securities fraud probes in the United States and Canada.

Land records indicate that David Radler transferred ownership of his West Vancouver home to his wife, Rona Radler, last November.

The home has an assessed value of $2 million.

When Hollinger sold Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. for $472 million US in 1999, Radler and other Ravelston "agents" earmarked $50 million US of the proceeds as non-compete payments, $12 million US of which was "fraudulently" transferred to Hollinger Inc., the charges allege.

Four Hollinger International executives, including Radler and Kipnis, paid themselves a bonus in 2001 of $5.5 million US each, which they described as non-compete payments to win tax breaks, defrauding Canadian tax collectors, the charges allege.

In another case, the Hollinger executives paid themselves not to compete with a company that they owned.

"The fraud became more brazen and bold over time," Fitzgerald alleges. "They decided among themselves to pay themselves not to compete with themselves."

The charges come as Black, Radler and others face securities fraud probes in the United States and Canada.

Land records indicate that David Radler transferred ownership of his West Vancouver home to his wife, Rona Radler, last November.

The home has an assessed value of $2 million.

- - -


U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald


David Radler

Vancouver-based former president of Hollinger International Inc.


Mark Kipnis

Hollinger International's former in-house lawyer

Ravelston Corp. Ltd.

The private Toronto company that controlled Hollinger's global publishing empire.


It's alleged that Radler, Kipnis and Ravelston diverted $32 million US through a series of secret deals by disguising the money as noncompete fees connected to the sale of U.S. newspapers to other companies.


All three are charged with five counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. Radler and Kipnis face five years in prison on each count.


Hidden philanthropist ready to help others follow her lead

Nicholas Read
Vancouver Sun

August 19, 2005

Carol Newell is coming clean.

She is, and has been for more than a decade, one of Vancouver's most influential citizens, funding environmentally forward-looking charities and businesses with her personal wealth.

It's just that few people knew it.

That is about to change.

Newell, 49, is getting ready to tell her story to anyone willing to listen in the hope that other people with fortunes comparable to hers will realize that money is only worth something if it is spent to improve the world.

As one of the family heirs of the small U.S. company that went on to become the Newell Rubbermaid Corporation, the New York-born Newell came into a personal windfall of more than $25 million 15 years ago, not long after she emigrated to Canada. But instead of spending the money on herself, or using it to amass an even bigger fortune, she has, she says, spent it on building a culture that is "simpler, sustainable for all, and linked to the land."

In other words, apart from a modest amount she has set aside to live on, all her money has gone into furthering environmental and social-justice concerns. In six years most of it will be gone.

Principally, she's done it in two ways. First, in 1992 she created the Endswell Foundation, which grants money to environmental and social justice charities.

And second, with her business partner Joel Solomon, himself a $5-million US heir to a Tennessee development fortune, she set up in 1994 the Renewal Partners Company which provides venture capital, through loans and/or equity investments, to fledgling companies with a vision for a better B.C.

Included among the 50 or so firms her seed money has helped nurture are Capers Community Markets, Happy Planet Foods, Small Potatoes Urban Delivery (SPUD), Communicopia Web Design, Hollyhock Retreat Centre and New Society Publishers. Eighteen of them have failed -- an unacceptably high percentage in the eyes of most financial institutions, but a risk Renewal is prepared to take for the sake of its ideals.

But she's done it without a breath of publicity. When Shauna Sylvester received funding from Endswell to start the Institute for Media Policy and Civil Societies, an organization that does communications work for charities, it was two years before she learned who Newell was -- even that she existed. "I didn't know Carol," Sylvester says. "She was an anonymous donor. In those days, she just wanted her money to be anonymous."

Not any more. Newell is now ready to come forward and, she hopes, set an example to other wealthy people interested in seeing their money make a difference. "I think those of us who have extraordinary wealth have an opportunity to leverage that wealth to stimulate a just and sustainable economy," she told The Vancouver Sun in her first-ever interview with a daily newspaper. "I know it goes against the grain, but I know it's possible. It's just about deciding what kind of choices we want to make."

She's kept her work so secret that neither the Vancouver Board of Trade, the B.C. Business Council nor the Canadian Venture Capital Association has heard of her.

But Vancity CEO Dave Mowat calls Newell's "a one-of-a-kind organization. There are probably individuals around with a similar mindset, but Renewal has staff. They have full-time people working on this. I would say they're unique in that regard for sure."

What also makes Renewal unique in B.C., Mowat says, is that when it is considering investing in a new business, the most important criterion on which it bases its decision is not whether the business will make money -- though that is important -- but how it will contribute to the greater good.

"We are about mission and purpose first," confirms Solomon. "And that is unusual."

Yes, Renewal wants to see the business plan, he says, but only if it includes a real vision for addressing environmental and social concerns, and if it is going to make a real contribution towards creating a more sustainable and just society.

"We first want to know what the purpose of the enterprise is in addition to creating a successful business," Solomon says.

Money can be provided either in the form of a loan, for which interest is eventually required, or as an equity investment. Terms are negotiated according to the entrepreneur and the type of deal suggested.

The point, says Solomon, is not to have a prescribed exit strategy. The point is to help these companies remain in business as long as possible. And 12 years into it, he and Newell are pretty much committed. No matter how many people may come knocking from now on, they're not in a position to hand out much more.

That's why Newell has also helped set up the Tides Canada Foundation, another giving arm that will, thanks to the help of other investors, operate in a more traditional way and give away only the money it earns.

However, like Endswell and because of Newell's involvement, most of Tides' gifts are made to environmental and social-justice causes, says executive director Tim Draimin. "[Newell] was the instigator of us being here," Draimin says. "She's the founder."

But Endswell was meant to be different, Solomon says. Newell wanted to see her money spent well in her lifetime, and had she tied it up in a traditional foundation, that wouldn't have happened.

David Van Seters, who, in the last seven years, has turned SPUD into a $7.5-million organic food delivery service, says Renewal's help was crucial to his company's survival and success.

"They helped in providing some much-needed funding for SPUD in its early days, and they've continued to support us as we've grown with additional funding," Van Seters says. "They have been a true strategic partner for us in every sense of the word."

And now SPUD is in a position to give to charitable organizations with complementary missions. Capers does the same.

Randal Ius, who helped establish Happy Planet Foods with recently elected NDP MLA Gregor Robertson, agrees that without Renewal's interest and help, Happy Planet wouldn't be what it is today, the largest fresh and organic juice and smoothie manufacturer in Canada.

Their influence financially was important, but their influence by bringing a lot of excellent sales consultants on board and introducing us to excellent business contacts both in the U.S. and Canada was every bit as important," Ius says.

Jason Mogus, CEO of Communicopia Internet Inc., an online strategy and design firm for sustainability companies and non-profit organizations, will do almost $1.5 million in business this year, and, as such, will be in a position for the first time in 12 years to repay some of Renewal's investment in him in hard cash.

No other venture-capital company would have been as patient, he says. "They helped us at a time before social and environmental responsibility was known," Mogus explains. "Their approach to supporting me as an entrepreneur with business values was unprecedented and incredible. They are absolutely critical to my success and our company's success. But they would never say that they did that."

For her part, Newell says none of her clients has disappointed her. "That's remarkable," she admits. "And as I say that, it almost brings tears to my eyes. But in one way or another I feel so good about the investments and the philanthropic contributions I've made. I'm so happy that that money is out there working."


Buddha says; "There are four bases of sympathy: charity, kind speech, doing a good turn and treating all alike. Happy indeed are the men-of-worth, in them no craving'seen. The "I" conceit is rooted up; delusion's net is burst."

Thursday, August 18, 2005


First of all I want to acknowledge those of you who have sent in comments to this blog site. Muniandy from Malaysia I appreciate your positive feedback and PT your constructive critique.

I have learned some huge lessons as this blog unfolds, and the most important is to be patient with your journey. I am learning as you are to be on a better path in my life and my life's work. To do this in your 20,s , 30,s 40,s or even 50's is an uphill climb given our childhood training and early adulthood programming, but to start at my age of 63 is even more of a challenge.

Some of you have questioned the motivation for the blog. Is it simply a marketing tool for writing my book? That's a fair question and requires a truthful answer. "Buddha in the Board Room" was conceived long before the blog. About two years ago I came up with the title but never really did anything with it. I was also not in the right space to begin any journey, I was caught up in the daily spin that we are all engaged in until we realize that something is missing, we are chasing that ever elusive state of nirvana that never comes. Money comes and goes...happiness is merely an interruption of sadness.....anxiety is motivated by fear......we do business to get business to make money....we create relationships to make us happy....we are never alone we are just in between relationships, it's too painful to be alone..we meet and network with people to get businesss..we make money to buy things to be happy...and when we're done buying the house, the car, the big screen t.v., the Australian trip, the winter condo, the summer cottage, the ski trip, etc etc...it's always NEXT!!!

I decided six months ago I had had enough. That didn't mean I had to drop out and retreat to a monastery in the himalayans, although I was tempted. I decided to do something different with my life and after connecting with a few people at a deeper level and hearing their story, observing how effortlesly they conducted their business and personal life and seeing how truly happy and content they were I looked at how I could begin a similar journey.

This blog and the writings herein are the beginning of that journey. And I emphasize again this is very much the beginning of the journey. I have truthfully admitted that I am not a Buddhist and I am not a deeply religious man. I am however deeply spiritual and have had many life altering experiences that have come through divine intervention and a source that goes beyond the infrastructure of a religious institution. I don't meditate regularly, do yoga or burn candles...only when I take a bath....so you see I'm probably just like you....beginning the journey. And if by some chance I can inspire you to begin the journey with me as a fellow traveller, maybe we can learn a lot from each other.

I became intrigued by the eight fold path of the teachings of the Buddha and thought that if we conducted our lives with these fundamental principles, not only would we be in RIGHT alignment, our life's work would be of personal choice and fulfillment, businesses would grow and prosper for the right reasons , our relationships would be of pure intention and the view of our world would change.

As I have been led to believe, weblogs have been created to allow everyone to express themselves in a free and unshackled way. The opinions I express and yours are not monitored by some news director, surveilence camera, Home Land Security. the FBI, CIA or RCMP..Big Brother is not watching. So I encourage you to not just drop by this blog site for a visit, but to use it as a forum to write your own personal stories about your journey, whether you are at the beginning, middle, or end.

<strong>Buddha says: "The moment we are enlightened within, we go beyond the voidness of a world confronting us".


Ed note: Many of you have asked why I use the term Namaste when I sign off the blog entry...there is a reason and here it is:


Meaning and Definition

Namaste, appreciation, and success all go hand in hand when you understand the true meaning.

The meaning of success is the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals by honoring others.

Success is a life filled with appreciation and gratitude. You could say the real meaning of Success is the ability to fulfill your desires effortlessly and with ease.

Yet success- all by itself, success, including the creation of wealth, has been considered by some to be a process that requires hard work, and it is often considered by some to be at the expense of others.

What's needed is a more spiritual approach to success and to affluence; which is the abundant flow of all good things to you.

These 7 spiritual laws have helped many people live in harmony with nature and create with carefree-ness, joy, and love once they have realized it's true meaning.

7 Spiritual Laws of Success

Meaning and Definition.

1. The Law of Pure Potentiality

The source of all creation is pure consciousness... pure potentiality seeking expression from the un-manifest to the manifest. When we realize that our true self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe.

2. The Law of Giving

The universe operates through dynamic exchange.... giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.

3. The Law of Cause and Effect

Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind.... what we sow is what we reap. And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our action is happiness and success.

4. The law of Least Effort

Nature's intelligence functions with effortless ease.... with care-freeness, harmony, and love. When we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.

5. The Law of Intention and Desire

Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment... intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality have infinite power. When we introduce an intention in the fertile ground of pure potentiality, we put this infinite organizing power to work for us.

6. The Law of Detachment

In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty..... in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.

7. The Law of Purpose in Life

Everyone has a purpose in life... a unique gift or special talent to give to others. When we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Here are excerpts from an article in Fast Company worth re-publishing:

by Jennifer Reingold

It's the new era of accountability: Most of the nation's worst-performing bosses have been shown the door.

The death certificates have been signed. The eulogies have been written. The bagpipes have sounded. That's right, folks. The era of the Imperial CEO is officially over. Thanks to the humiliating collapse of the fraud-riddled likes of Enron, HealthSouth, Tyco, and WorldCom, chief executives today are about as respected as, oh, Internet stock analysts.

And they have about as much job security, too. A CEO no longer has to be photographed on a perp walk, handcuffs scraping cuff links, in order to get the boot; heads are now rolling for the slightest whiff of impropriety. In June, Freddie Mac wiped out much of its C-suite -- its CEO, COO, and CFO -- amid an accounting probe. Another prominent departure of late was American Airlines chief Donald Carty, forced out after neglecting to mention a special bonus pool for top executives while he was asking stewardesses and pilots to take massive pay cuts.

But as the bills come due for the millennium's excesses, many executives are losing their jobs for much less. These days, bosses may actually be shown the door for something as simple as poor performance (imagine that!). Just ask Ford's Jacques Nasser (broomed in 2001); Vivendi's Jean-Marie Messier (2002); EDS's Dick Brown (2003); AOL-Time Warner's Gerald Levin (2002); and -- hello, again, AOL-Time Warner -- Steve Case (2003).

A stunning 78% of the CEOs at the worst-performing 20% of companies in the S&P 500 have been replaced within the past five years. "The way companies are managed is more by the numbers now," says Chuck Lucier, senior vice president emeritus at Booz Allen Hamilton. "If an executive doesn't perform today, he gets shot."

For the rest of the story go to www.fastcompany.com



In my relentless pursuit of learning who I am and what this journey of discovery is all about , people are beginning to show up in my life who are in what I have been callng "purposeful alignment". Yesterday, I met with an old friend, Andrew Barber-Starkey, who has now built himself a very successful coaching and seminar business. We shared "war stories" about what it's been like to be in business with self-styled western world gurus and where our business is today without them, as the captain of our own ship .

His experiences and mine with individuals who ride the roller coaster of fame and fortune and are quite eager to take those of us who are willing participants along for the ride, are quite similar. We have all met them and in our desperate need to accomplish something GREAT in our lives...whether it's financial freedom or being recognized as a leader, we are willing to give up body and soul to follow them, dsspite the fact we know that these individuals are totally ego based and narcisstic in nature.

They are known to the western world mistakingly as "Gurus". Western style Gurus come in many forms: Self Help, Spiritual, Medical, Sales, Marketing, and pretty much for every category of human and business life. The challenge we face as human beings , is that we generally feel we need someone to help us get from point A to point B. Maybe it's the fact that our parents did it for us and so we turn to others for that guidance once we grow up. The truth is that we are by nature "lemmings" when it comes to anyone who even remotely appears to replace our parent/s...it's like we all need a "Moses" to take us to the promised land of milk and honey.

And so these people continually show up on our radar screen , until we learn we can actually do it without them and be really at peace with our own sense of integrity, truth , and we are able to design our own destiny. We don't need to live someone else's dream, vision, or reality. As this friend and I began to share these stories of what it's been like to live under the shadow of our personal western style "Gurus", we realized that the common theme is one of being dispensable when the Great Guru no longer needs you. The moment of truth is when you realize that he/she is neither a guru, your father, your mother , or the person you think can take you to the top of the mountain. The minute your loyalty and allegiance is in question ...he/she will remove you.... like a surgeon with a knife removing the cancerous tumour.

So what's the point here in my rambling today. Well, I have been in search of personal gurus my whole life, and interstingly enough they have found me. Every time they have found me I have been in a state of need, and looking for answers and meaning to my life. So rather than look within ,I chose the easier route of having someone else look after me...someone else who I perceived to have all the answers. And I was willing to pay big bucks to follow this galavanting guru to the promised land and take me out of the darkness and into the light. Because no one wants to be alone in the dark.

The lesson learned for both Andrew and I was that we can essentially keep all our ideas, maintain our self respect and integrity and venture forth alone to accomplish what we were meant to accomplish, what we love to do, and empower others to do it alone. We are merely guides and mentors. And for that reason we need to abolish the term "Guru" in our western society and replace it with the word "Mentor or Guide". I believe strongly in only using the term "Guru" with reference to the Eastern religion defintion of the "true" Guru:

A guru (गुरू Sanskrit) is a Hindu religious teacher. It is based on a long line of Hindu philosophical understandings of the importance of knowledge and that the teacher, guru, is the sacred conduit to self-realization. Till today in India and among people of Hindu or Sikh persuasion, the title retains its significant hallowed space.

Guru is widely used in contemporary India with the universal meaning of the word "teacher".
In the traditional sense, the word guru describes a relationship rather than an absolute and is used as a form of address only by a disciple addressing his master. Some Hindu denominations like BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha hold that a personal relationship with a living guru, revered as the embodiment of God, is essential in seeking moksha.

The role of the guru continues in the original sense of the word in such Hindu traditions as Vedanta, Yoga, Tantra and Bhakti sects. Indeed, it is now a standard part of Hinduism (as defined by the six Vedic streams and the Tantric Agamic streams) that a guru is one's spiritual guide on earth. In some more mystical Hindu circles, it is believed that the guru could awaken dormant spiritual knowledge within the pupil, known as shaktipat.

In tantric Buddhism, a guru is essential for the initiation,practice and guidance along the path. The importance of a guru-disciple relationship, is demonstrated by ritual empowerments or initiations where the student obtains permission to practice a particular tantra.

The Dalai Lama speaking of the importance of the guru said: "Rely on the teachings to evaluate a guru: Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism."

The Guru in Buddhism represents a set of teachings and beliefs that no common man is a God or a Guru and that we are all interconnected to one another to do good and be good and to understand that it is through the collaboratve efforts of humankind that we will always come from a place of abundance and happiness.

This weblog is designed to not only share with you the writings of my book, but I hope it serves as a well spring for your own journey of self discovery. I encourage you to write your story and I will post it, and with your permission we may use it in the book. And by the way, pay attention to those serendipitious meetings with people who just show up in your life. They are either a reminder of the past, a test to see if you'll drink the Kool Aid again or have you learned your lesson, and that you don't need a GURU, you just need a fellow traveller for the journey.

I would like to acknowledge Heath Row, the editor of Fast Company Now for recognizing the work we are doing with the book and this weblog, by recommending it in the lastst edition of FC Now, which can be found at www.blog.fastcompany.com. Thank you Heath.

Buddha Says: "Grasping after systems, imprisoned by dogmas for the most part in this world. But he who does not go in for system-grasping he neither doubts nor is perplexed; by not depending on others, knowledge herein comes to be his own."

Buddha Speaks Biz

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Using the teachings of Buddha in real-world workplace situations will inspire employees, employers, and executives alike with practical answers to everyday problems dealing with the self, with others, and everyday decisions. You always have a choice on how you will react to pressures, and conduct yourself each day. It’s about how you use the freedom of choice in the moment to become a better worker, and to find your own path to enlightenment.


First recognize that you are responsible for your own future.

Second, recognize that you always have a choice.

Mission statements for your organization and life are key to enlightened work. The mission statement is a compass to guide your priorities and decisions so you do not become lost in day-to-day activities.

Part of the Eightfold Noble Path is choosing Right Livelihood. Do work that helps rather than harms living things.

It is not wise to become too attached to one job or career. Things change, everything is transitory. Find your freedom in that truth.

Do great work, all the time. Start work before the boss gets in, and leave after she does.

Do not take more than you should. Taking home a pencil or minor office supply is stealing.

You represent your employer, so uphold the company name.

Your self-confidence increases when you know you have done good work. Good results come from healthy self-esteem.

Action always beats inaction. Making mistakes is better than not doing anything at all. If you aren’t making mistakes, it means you are not taking risks and not trying hard enough.

You are a work in progress. You are responsible for your own self-improvement.

Practice yoga or meditation to learn how to focus.

Buddha says; "If a man do something good, let him do it again and again. Let him find joy in his good work. Joyful is the accumulation of good work."


Tuesday, August 02, 2005


The inspiration to write my book "Buddha in the Board Room" has come from so many people. Many of whom I will acknowledge throughout the book. They are authors, writers, broadcasters and journalists, who themselves are on their own journey of discovery and enlightenment. Through their journalistic endeavours they are inspiring others to tell their own truths of what is important to them. Lynn Brewer, who wrote the best selling book on the collapse of Enron, and Joel Bakan, author of the award winning "The Corporation" are amongst the many I will talk about ....and not only their work but their mission. It has been said that we are are only six degrees of separation from one another. In the last five years of my life that has become clearer and clearer to me. I value everyone I have met, interviewed and become friends with.

This blog site has also afforded me the opportunity to discover other individuals I have never met, but who I feel have something of real value to offer. So please feel free to comment on the site and express yourself...this really is a forum of discovery for all of us. Today I came across an article that I am sure will inspire us as we begin this week of doing business in a new way.

Buddha says: "Let him first find what is right and then he can teach it to others, thus avoiding useless pain".

Buddha Talks Business: 10 Tips for Ensuring Your Success

By Jim Schaffer
Jan 15, 2004,

Most of us have tried hard to be good corporate citizens. We’ve dutifully absorbed the lessons we’ve been taught along the way, both in the course of doing our jobs as well as from the pages of each year’s hot business books. The trouble is, not only is much of this wisdom just plain wrong, it may also be preventing you from being successful and could be ruining your health, to boot!

Some of the most cutting edge ideas in business today stem from 2500 years ago, in the time of the Buddha. Here are ten principles which, if practiced, can help you achieve greater focus, deeper satisfaction and, ultimately, better results in your work.

1. Slowing Down (versus Speeding Up). Forget about all that “fast company” hoohah. With a quiet mind and a curious, open heart you’ll be able to act far more swiftly than your adrenaline-addled competitors.

2. Surrendering (versus Taking Control). You don’t have control anyway, so most of that energy is wasted. Use it instead to observe closely and act in concert with what is already happening.

3. Your Natural Rhythm (versus Time Management). There is no such thing as time management---there is only how we choose to process our lives. Be aware of your own high and low energy cycles, and work with them. If you find yourself flagging, take a break.

4. Present Moment Focus (versus Extensive Planning). We all know by now that the future, as we originally envision it, never arrives. Make your plans and then let go of them, at least on a daily basis. Instead, make the most of your present moments; they’ll add up to much more in the long run.

5. Plateau and Rise (versus Constant Rise). Learn to savor the daily tasks and treat them as a practice. One day you will find you’ve unexpectedly gotten better. Stop striving!

6. Hi-touch (versus Hi-Tech). No matter how efficient we become, relationships still drive the world. Make sure all your communications are personal. And use English (or some other living language), not corporate jargon or computerese.

7. Non-judgment (versus Constant Judgment). Who made you the judge, anyway? Stay open and keep learning for as long as possible before making judgments, and even then stop hanging on to them for dear life.

8. Beginner’s Mind (versus Being an Expert). If you’re already the Top Gun, it’s hard to grow and learn. Rekindle the fun of exploring instead of wearing your knowledge on your sleeve----you’ll find you get much further.

9. Focus on “Being” (versus Focus on “Having”). We in the West seem to have it backwards. What you ultimately receive is returned to you according to the way you express who you are. Easterners call it karma.

10. Intuition and Trust in the Process (versus Strategy, Tactics and Technique). I’ve seen 30 years of strategic planning lead virtually nowhere in the companies I’ve been affiliated with in my career. The one company that grew and prospered did so because the founder followed his instincts and created an atmosphere of empowerment long before the word ever became a cliché. You already know most of what you need to know to be successful. Be quiet and listen to your own wisdom.

Jim Schaffer spent 25 years selling and managing people in both the software and advertising media businesses. Since 1990, he has shown people how to employ principles of Eastern philosophy to stay focused, keep high morale and get better results at work --- regardless of what may be going on around them. He is available to speak on this topic. For more information visit http://www.jimschaffer.com or call 617-332-9105.