Insights - These 5 poisons could kill your business.

These 5 poisons could kill your business.

by Dr. Thomas Papanikolaou on February 28, 2013

Is your organisation feeling overwhelmed by the impact of the market dynamics? Are your people discouraged that your customers do not seem to appreciate your market-leading products and services anymore? Do you think that new competitors are being successful because they start fresh and can build upon your hard work and ideas? Do you find yourself envying or even condemning their success?

If you answered any of the above questions with “yes”, your business may be in a state that prevents it from learning, becoming wiser and, ultimately, succeeding. Using -- respectfully -- a Buddhist notion: your business is in a “klesha”.

Kleshas, in Buddhism, are mental states that cloud the mind and manifest in unwholesome actions. Kleshas include states of mind such as anxiety, fear, anger, jealousy, desire, depression, etc. In the Buddhist Mahayana tradition, the five main kleshas are referred to as the “5 poisons”. While kleshas are not meant to describe the state of businesses, they provide a remarkable description of characteristics of challenged organisations and relationships. The 5 poisons are:

  • Ignorance: Lack of discernment; not understanding the way of things
  • Attachment: Attachment or desire for what we like
  • Aversion: Aversion for what we don't like, or for what prevents us from getting what we like
  • Pride: Having an inflated opinion of oneself and a disrespectful attitude toward others
  • Jealousy: Being unable to bear the accomplishments or good fortune of others

An intriguing example for your consideration was recently seen at MWC 2013. Can you detect the poisonous patterns in the discussion between Mobile Operators and Over-The-Top players like Viber?

It is the job of the every leader to remove the hindrances that put their organisations in a negative and destructive state of mind. Our experience shows that the key lies in building a learning organisation that innovates continuously, has the humility to do its part in a bigger picture, and does so in the most excellent way.

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