We have heard many stories of people setting up companies but failing to sustain them. Often, this was because they neglected the people who form the backbone of the company. Instead of focusing on them, the emphasis was on the company — the size of the office, its location, which bank account to open, what products to sell and so forth. All this is necessary, of course, but what makes it work are the people we employ to get things done. They should matter the most.
However, in pushing for expected results, companies end up with employees who are highly stressed, which makes them unhappy and, therefore, less productive. Their level of unhappiness is even higher if they are not deeply motivated. This is compounded by the failure of the higher-ups to make them understand the purpose of their existence in the company.
I believe that if we take good care of our employees, they will take good care of our business and the company. After all, it is our employees who carry out our company’s plans, be it to produce compelling and scalable products or to create customer satisfaction.
People are the core that determines how a company turns out. A company is like the body of a human being while its employees are like the soul that drives it forward. A man or a woman may have the best physical features. They may take great pains with their looks and achieve optimum results physically, such as going to the gym to develop six-pack abs. But can physical excellence guarantee happiness? I do not think so.
It is the same for a company. It could have the best location and the most posh office décor but can these ensure its success and long-term sustainability? Whether we want to sustain a company or attain ultimate personal happiness, we must focus on our core, which is our soul. The soul of a company is its people while what makes us who we are is our soul, which is interconnected to our physical body.
When a company is going under, we begin to take stock of the root cause. Often, it boils down to the decisions made by us and the people whom we employ. Now let us relate it to this: when stress or depression hits a person and brings him to life’s darkest pit, what is the crux of the problem?
Some of us blame our surroundings and other people for the pitfalls we face. What we learn through science may have an impact on how we view problems or failures that befall us. Medical science, for instance, leads us to accept that our stress could be due to work pressure, toxic relationships or terrible surroundings. To eliminate our stress, we are told to talk or consult someone, who could be a doctor or a psychologist. We may even consume a prescribed drug to calm us down.
In the past, people who were “sick in the mind” (or deemed insane) were treated with electrical shocks. Small electric currents were pumped through the brain. Even today, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT — a procedure where a small amount of electrical current is passed through the brain of a patient under anaesthesia) is being used to relieve severe depression. Does treating the brain to cure the mind really work?
I am not against science. In fact, science has helped me a lot in my business. Technologies based on science have helped me create compelling products that are highly convenient and useful to my customers.
From my perspective, when people are stressed or worse, depressed, to the point that they lose all hope and meaning in life, it is not their brain that needs to be treated. It is their mind for there is a difference between the brain and the mind. If there are physical defects in the brain, yes, we may need surgery or other scientific methods to treat them. But if the mind is sick, it is a sign that our soul is not well. If we listen carefully, the soul is trying to tell us that it is stressed. It needs to be reconnected to its Maker to truly understand the reason for its existence and to pursue the true purpose of life.
When we have fed our soul with what it needs the most, our connected physical body will start to heal. We will begin to see the light, whose source is our heart. Just like the sun, the heart illuminates. The heart can enlighten the mind. Once this happens, we will understand the purpose of our life, which can help guide us forward in everything we do. And just like the moon that reflects sunlight, the mind is a reflection of the heart.
This can be seen when we meet a pleasant person with kind thoughts and only nice things to say. We call that person someone who has a positive outlook on life because the truth is that his perspective is a reflection of his mind illuminated by his heart. Likewise, when we meet a person who always finds faults in everything and has only bad things to say, that comes from a troubled heart and an unwell soul.
With this analogy between the physical body and a company, and the soul as being the people who run the business, I hope I can leave you with a profound concept to think about. Once it is understood, only then can we find the solutions to the stress in our life and our business.
Datuk Azrin Mohd Noor is the founder of Sedania Group, an innovator, author and IP expert