el-yoga1What can we business people learn from thousand-year-old yogi teachings? A lot, I think, as illustrated by social networking’s growing popularity. In my last blog, Do you have good business karma? (part 1), I introduced the idea that people are driven towards both practices by the same primal need to connect, and that the yogi idea of “simplifying in order to achieve more” also holds true for business success. That is why social networking is even catching on for B2B marketers. How else are the two practices related?

Yoga teaches us to accept our flaws and those of others without judgment. The social networking platform is by nature fearless, accepting, transparent and humble. Successful bloggers are not afraid to make a mistake, and they are not afraid to apologize when they do. The don’t get defensive. They don’t judge. They are secure, knowing their “friends” will set them straight. Paul Gillen’s book, The New Influencers states it this way, “In the blogosphere, transparency is about a lot more than just not lying. It’s about opening yourself to inspection, analysis, judgment, praise and ridicule. It’s remarkable that a community of people with so little formal organization should embrace that as a core cultural value.”

Yoga teaches us to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone. Likewise, corporate blogs and social networks are most effective when they link to others in their industry, even competitors. Bloggers frequently compliment their competitors and discuss competitive products. This actually helps them in the long term and in the short term. Long-term, their referrals help their industry grow, which ultimately benefits all companies in that industry. Short-term, they build themselves up as honest, impartial, trusted advisors. Customers and colleagues keep coming back. For example, Bill Gates famously got DOS’s business by sending IBM to competitor Digital Research. IBM came back to him when they didn’t get much help from Digital Research.

For years we business people have had to work “out of harmony” with our personal beliefs, but the old way of cut-throat business practices seems to be on its way out. The statement, “it’s not personal; it’s just business” no longer excuses every shameful corporate offense like lying, stealing, treating employees unfairly and stepping on others to get ahead. Today’s business people want more – in their personal and professional lives. They want to become better people. They want their work to contribute to a greater good. In short, they want good karma.

 

Chris HenneghanChris is one of Schubert’s longest-standing employees, starting with the agency in 1987. She now serves as Senior Vice President and Brand Strategist. Chris is a Notre Dame grad and enjoys tennis, golf, hiking and reading.

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