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Dalai Lama & Cultivating the Heart of Leadership

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It was a different group than the usual college audience in the University of California at Irvine Barclay Theater on Friday April 16th. His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and 115 global business and academic leaders gathered there to discuss and explore the development of an economy that works for everyone. I was honored to be among the business leaders invited to participate in this historic gathering.

It was a different group than the usual college audience in the University of California at Irvine Barclay Theater on Friday April 16th. His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama and 115 global business and academic leaders gathered there to discuss and explore the development of an economy that works for everyone. I was honored to be among the business leaders invited to participate in this historic gathering.

This remarkable meeting was created through a partnership between the University of California Irvine and Spirit in Business Vice Chancellor Manuel N. Gomez of UC Irvine welcomed the participants and panelists including: W. Brian Arthur, External Professor, Santa Fe Institute and former Dean and Professor of Economics and Population Studies at Stanford University; Bill George, former Chairman and CEO, Medtronic Corporation and Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School; John Graham, UC Irvine Professor in the Graduate School of Management; and Barbara J. Krumsiek, President and CEO of Calvert Group, Ltd.

Participants came from the medical, media, technology, environment, philanthropic and finance communities. The participants wove their personal and professional experience into a thoughtful tapestry connecting leadership, socially responsibly investing, global trade creating peace, and the power of technology to impact our notion of economy.

It was an inspiring and energizing day; we explored the many possibilities of making significant positive change in the way business is done. Issues raised ranged from what can I do today to make a difference to the power of sustainable development and environmental responsibility in changing our businesses and economy.

HH the Dalai Lama joined our dialogue for the second half of our day together. He humbly stated that he was there to learn and that he was not a business guru. And then he proceeded to teach and inspire us so much more about how to conduct business than any business guru. He discussed how personal leadership and ethics is the foundation for successful business and economy.

The Dalai Lama spoke about how he has been a long time advocate for the need for ethics/spiritual values in the world of politics and economics. In order to make this world a better, more humane and safer place, we need to realize how interdependent we all are and therefore how we should take responsibility for one another. Globalization and advances in information technology have made our world so much smaller. The importance and significance of this particularly applies to business leaders, whose actions affect the lives of many people all over the world.

He said that we didnt need to be a religious or spiritual person to appreciate this reality and act accordingly. Moreover, the worlds religions all have in common an emphasis on developing qualities such as ethics, tolerance and compassion. He emphasized ethical attitudes are core to the operation of economic activity. The quality of all our actions depends on our motivation. In economics and business, as in all other fields of human activity, if you have a good motivation and seek to contribute to a better human society, you will be a good and honest businessperson.

He stressed that we must take immediate steps on the global level, to create ethical codes in the worlds of business and finance. Global degradation of the natural environment and climate is threatening life itself. We must also remember that economics is responsible for creating the unacceptable gap between the rich and the poor both amongst nations in the world and between different sections of the society within a nation. Therefore, it is now necessary for us to widen our perspective to include the well being of the whole world and its future generations in our vision of economics and business.

He explained that if you practice tolerance and compassion, you will immediately discover that these qualities are causes of happiness. There is no machine that can produce inner peace; there is no shop that sells inner peace. No matter how rich you are, there is no way you can buy inner peace. It is something that has to come from inside, through mental practice.

Another thought provoking topic was the power of female leadership in the business world. The Dalai Lama and the participants noted that women are now in a strong position to lead with great wisdom and courage. Other issues discussed included how to measure economic progress and progress inside companies for the benefit of all; personal practices to improve business leaders effectiveness and compassion and how we can design entire companies on these new emerging principles of interconnectedness.

In conclusion to this wonderful day, we requested the Dalai Lama to host a small working dialogue in Dharmsala, India to continue our work. Participants offered support in convening leading social scientists to work on the subject and also coordination with other global consulting firms to create an open source approach to the emerging generative theory and practice of leadership and organizational development.

A new milestone was reached in the collaboration of business leaders working for positive change in personal and corporate practice. Scientific research now indicates that a compassionate business model was more productive; and that view was growing in the world of business and increasing positive results. Perhaps equally important, the group left with a clear sense that the days work was not a moment in isolation but a consolidation of our collective work and consciousness. This conference was a sure sign that new promising breakthroughs in human and economic potential are coming.

Marilyn Tam is an influential corporate leader, speaker, consultant, international author, respected philanthropist and social activist. Visit her website atwww.HowToUseWhatYouveGot.com .

Marilyn Tams book, How to Use What Youve Got to Get What You Want , receives an average 5-star rating from Amazon.com customers. In her book, Ms. Tam talks about how to discover your own inner North Star, and how to use it to navigate your efforts to achieve maximum personal success. The hardcover is just $14.00 on Amazon.com. Check it out! Click here.