A day or two after receiving my dana (donations) in a country overseas, I called in at the HSBC bank to change the money into sterling, the English currency. HSBC bank, it promotes itself as “your local bank,” offered a very, very poor rate of exchange. So I called in at another bank and received £100 more in the exchange of my dana.
I was reminded of this when I read that HSBC recently sent 80 of its employees from around the world to India at a cost of around €7000 per person to learn about sharing of experiences, meditation, reflection, team bonding and leadership. Bank employees moving up the corporate ladder and other high flyers with the bank are pursuing self-improvement, personal development, networking and a meaningful role within the bank. A happy, contented and resourceful member of staff serves the interests of the bank.
I am regularly asked what I think about this merger of personal development courses with corporate ambitions. I am reminded of Shakespeare’s advise in The Tempst about using a ‘long spoon if one sups with the devil’ – meaning be mindful if you keep questionable company such as career driven, profit motivated individuals.
This mountain of self-help books, course, programmes and retreats for managers in India fail to question the aims, ambitions and objectives of the corporation, the bank or the business. These self help books and programmes rely on the premise that the ‘self’ is the problem and the ‘self’ has to be developed in order to compete in the market place.
As long as employers and employees submit to the view that the essence of work is productivity, efficiency and maximisation of return in investment, then we will not see any real change in the business community. Change to the structure and values does not come from personal development but from the realisation of the First Noble Truth – dissatisfaction and suffering for countless numbers of people exploited by banks and businesses and the force of desire and ambition in the private sector.
The HSBC bank lost literally billions of $$$ of customers money in the past year or two in its desire for power and profit. It is looking to recover its losses. You can bank on it. Watch Out!