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The Manager and the Monk: A Discourse on Prayer, Profit, and Principles Hardcover – April 8, 2013
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Q & A with Jochen Zeitz, Coauthor of The Manager and the Monk
We met in Nuremberg during an onstage discussion at a conference. On that day, and in the months that followed, we were inspired by each other's different experiences and perspectives and saw that we could learn from one another. We stayed in touch and continued the conversation, even exchanging roles. I spent a week in Father Grün's monastery and he spent time at my company. More often than not, we found we had similar beliefs and values, and in the spirit of sharing, we decided to document our dialogue.How are your roles in the world more similar than some might think?
As a CEO and as the head of a large abbey, we were both seen as leaders and role models by the individuals within our organizations. We recognized a shared responsibility to think beyond the immediate business requirements to how decisions could affect these people and the environment around us, which we were essentially responsible for in the long term. Ultimately, we both had to ensure that principles were guiding us. This is where the business world and the spiritual world can and should intersect. On a more personal level in our roles, we both wished to protect the environment, improve society, and employ sustainable methods, both within our "companies" and beyond. For me, this has translated into starting initiatives such as The B Team since I left PUMA.How did spirituality and ethics affect the way you ran PUMA?
Within a company it is imperative to have guiding principles and a foundation in place to address questions - whether they are ethical or spiritual - that come up during the day-to-day running of a business. At PUMA, we had an overarching ethical framework defined by the 4 Key principles of being Fair, Honest, Positive, and Creative, as applied to all professional behavior, business procedures, and relationships throughout and outside of PUMA.Who should read The Manager and the Monk?
The Manager and the Monk caters to a large cross-section of people. CEOs, directors, and managers will be inspired by seeing the world from a different point of view, as I did when I began this journey with Father Grün, as will those who have already found their own journey and are seeking encouragement. It is also a book for those entering the business world who recognize that they want to go beyond the traditional paradigm of 'business for profit' and consider people and planet as essential to the equation.The Manager and the Monk has appeared in 15 languages. What makes it so universally appealing?
The questions Father Grün and I ask ourselves and each other in this book are universal. They are questions we all seek answers to, and ones that my peers and I continually ask ourselves, such as: Do core values stand a chance in the world of business? How much consideration and empathy can a manager afford to show? What do money and success mean to us?
“[The Manager and the Monk] reassures and awakens readers to life and business choices that celebrate generosity, honesty, and authenticity.”
“The Manager and The Monk is a book for leaders who aspire to evolve their way of thinking and acting by keeping an open mind, to make for a better world.”
—Sir Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group
“The Manager and the Monk is a great example of the new partnership between matter and Spirit, business and spirituality, effectiveness and meaning. This is where we must go!”
—Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation and author, Falling Upward and Immortal Diamond
“The Manager and the Monk, scaling very different pyramids of success, meet at a single summit in the same world—a world of competition, but also of heightened awareness, hope, and wonder.”
—John Elkington, cofounder, SustainAbility and Volans; coauthor,The Power of Unreasonable People
“The Manager and the Monk is a vibrant, beautifully articulated, and stunningly fresh narrative that takes you on a unique literary adventure that can't but help to leave you inspired. Not only does it allow for an intimate insight into the world of two extraordinary characters, but it also masterfully articulates the processes we will all require, if we are to learn to sculpt a more positive outcome towards our collective future.”
—David de Rothschild, founder, Sculpt the Future Foundation, and author,The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook and Plastiki
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Top Customer Reviews
These profound truths are explored in a variety of themes: What does success and prosperity really mean for business as well as individually? How does being differ from having or seeming, especially in a business setting? How can culture embody an authentic way of being in business that is also pragmatic? What are the great values that should embody great companies? How can they be made manifest through practice in business? What does it mean to act ethically in a corporate setting? How can we embody ethics in our everyday interactions? How can we become aware of the environment in which our companies and our institutions are embedded? What are the limits of our commercial activities and what are the consequences of our insatiable consumption? What can companies and business leaders do to create a more sustainable world? How can we become aware of our own strengths and weaknesses and our responsibilities in business? The book fittingly ends with the ways in which we can expand our awareness of who we are and where our world is going.
In providing deeply illuminating answers to these questions, the authors explore and examine the contrasting currents that lie underneath: God and mammon, idealism and pragmatism, strength and weakness, action and reflection, growth and destruction, material prosperity and spiritual wealth, and many others. What the book provides is a way to not just reconcile these different dialectics, but to create a shared vision that can guide a new worldview. It is a worldview that is much needed today where the world of business is colliding with our internal world and the world of nature.
I can think of one word that expresses this new way of living and being in the world: Zeitzgeist.
In short, the book provides a lot to think about and ideas on how everyone can improve old habits right away, as well as a new perspective on how important it is to constantly adapt to the changing global environment both personally and professionally so that we don't "petrify" by following rigid cult behavior and enable tired bureaucracies. It also made me feel like looking into a monastery that would take me in for a week!
Again, I highly recommend this book.
The CEO of the sports lifestyle provider PUMA may seem like an unlikely partner for a dialogue with a monk who manages a Benedictine abbey. Turns out the CEO and Cellarer (business manager) of the abbey are passionate about many of the same topics: success, prosperity, culture, values, acting ethically, the environment, commerce, sustainability, strengths and weaknesses, responsibility and awareness.
Some of the intriguing ideas in this book - you will enjoy finding your own:
* Every person has to find a balance between material and nonmaterial prosperity.
* C. G. Jung maintained that affluence has a tendency to amplify a person's mask, and can cause that individual to cut himself off from his soul and center his life entirely on money and riches, with the result that he becomes empty within.
* We could establish indicators for companies that integrate environmental and social issues, such as the ... Global Sustainability Index.
* There is a divine space in each person that is not subject to worldly power.
* Our conscience shows us whether we are handling money properly - whether we are letting it take the place of God, or keeping God as our focal point with money merely serving to regulate life well.
* There are three basic aspects of the economy which we must consider: what it takes, what it produces, and what it wastes.
* Today I see at least three important social fields in which companies should be active as models: ethics, awareness of responsibility and sustainability.
One quote I disagreed with: "The children of this generation, the baby boomers, thought it would continue like this, always progressing upward, without any exertion on their part. They were sated and lethargic, and had forgotten that we have to work for prosperity."
As a baby boomer, when I look at my life and those of my contemporaries I know, we've worked as hard, if not harder, than my parents' generation. Most of the women in this generation worked outside of the home, in addition to parenting. Our parents lived longer than previous generations, so we're helping to take care of them in addition to working. Who are the most admired poster boys for our baby boomer generation? Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? Wouldn't call them slackers, sated or lethargic. It could be argued we've been too workaholic and neglected our cultural, physical, emotional and spiritual development.
If you are interested in a thoughtful discussion on why it's important to incorporate ethics and values in business - and some actions to do so - you should find the articulate conversation in this book of interest. Would love a list of action steps for companies by these authors on how to integrate these, with more examples of other companies who are doing so. I hope this book will, and these individuals, will keep the conversation going.