KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today I’m delighted to speak to Dr. Deepak Chopra who’s a very well known author of many, many books.
We have thousands of books, every year it seems, [that]come out on leadership. What [are some]new ideas that you bring out in your book, “The Soul of Leadership”?
DEEPAK CHOPRA – Well, the word “soul,” you know. I’ve talked about spirituality and the spiritual experience – what it means to be mindful. I’ve talked about intuition, creativity, inspiration and choice-making – a sense of the sacred for a long time. And, a number of years ago, I was speaking to the students in Kellogg Business School, Northwestern University, and I asked them, “What kind of world do you want to be in? What kind of business do you want to lead? What do you see as the future and how do you see yourselves as playing a role?” And all the answers they gave to me were spiritual. And then, the Dean asked me to start teaching a course there and I’ve been doing that for eight years and this book is a summary of that course.
KM – Do you think you can reconcile profit-making, the kind of thing we see in North America, capitalism, with the soul - are those two irreconcilable?
DC – I think the basic premise of business as purely for profit-making is wrong. I know that that’s the first thing that you learn when you go to business school is that the purpose of a business is to increase – it used to be shareholder and now - stakeholder value. Basically, it means the purpose of a business is to increase profits. That’s not the purpose of a business. The purpose of a business is to serve the needs of society and that’s why business came into existence – to serve the needs of society and profit is a good by-product of that if you do it well.
So, right from there, I think, we have to change from the start. Why do you exist as a business? If you exist merely for profit, then you’re going to pay the karmic debt that all these Wall Street companies have been paying, starting from Exxon to Worldcom to all the big ones, right now, that are in trouble.
KM – So, you see that, if you do wrongdoing, you’ll be repaid eventually in the nature of life.
DC - Yeah, I think no debt, ultimately, goes unpaid – it’s a perfect accounting system.
KARL MOORE – This has been Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Talking Management for The Globe and Mail.