Karma (or Karm) in the simplest form is “action”. Each action (and inaction – the decision of deciding not to act) a person takes will affect him or her at some time in the future (most often in same life).
Following verse from Gita highlights the detachment from the result, which means “To work you have the right, but not to the fruits thereof.”
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
If we simplify above lines in one sentence then it will be “Let us do good because it is good to do good”.
In Corporate World
While the above definition of Karma is kind of acceptable across the world and it sounds cool too, people do misuse the Karma occasionally to derive different meaning, including luck and hardship. Good thing is that the essence is seen in every part of the world. The following sayings and widely accepted teachings definitely indicate that people do believe in Karma:
- What goes around, comes around
- As you sow, so shall you reap
- The true value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it
- Rewards of lasting value requires patient and persistent toil
- We must take responsibility o what is in our life
- Past, Present and Future are connected. Live in present by learning from the past and do plan for the future.
- Life doesn’t just happen; it requires participation
In the corporate world, however, people don’t have the level of patience and knowledge required to understand the true nature of Karma. Even the most fair person does have expectation from any Karma and hence the result of the action does seem to influence their selection of Karma. The recommendation of “doing good because it is good to good” becomes one of the guiding principle, rather than the ONLY guiding principle.
People do envision results and accordingly set their goals (often called SMART goals). I find this quite fair because people do expect intellectual as well as financial growth within a reasonable time, and they don’t want to keep waiting for lifelong.
Examples of Karma@Work
Each and every activity that you perform or the events and discussion (including gossips) that you participate in is your Karma. While certain things are part of your roles and responsibilities (call this duty or expected Karma), there are others which you do because it is good to do good things. In fact, I believe it is extremely important to do good things which are aligned with company’s overall purpose. Otherwise, the company may not be able to ensure sustainable growth for all the stakeholders.
Let’s take an example of a technology company. The typical duty of an engineer will be to provide the best possible solution for a given problem and help customers use this solution. However, the other good things that the engineer can do are:
- Develop learning plan and best practices for the team and company
- Consciously identify the additional values that can be added to the customer and company while solving the current problems
- Create artifacts for better visibility of the product/solution/company
- Participate in hiring better talent
- Tracking technology trend and coming up with recommendations
- Participating in challenges like Hackathon, Faceoff, Quizzes, Competitions, etc
In this process, what we do need to realize is that not every activity is supposed to be available for everyone and not everyone will be keen to perform every activity. However, each of these activities is good in its own and company does hope someone to step-up and take a lead.
In the corporate setup, traditionally the measurement of Karma is like a short-circuit. The appraisal is more of a ritual before the salary hike and anything related to the year-long action of the employee gets squeezed into the appraisal process. Just before the appraisal the managers will request the subordinates to come up with self-appraisal form and based on that he/she puts supervisors rating. In some of the organization it gets calibrated at managers level and finally, the individual ends up having a rating, which shows how good or bad he/she did last year. Often a lot depends on how the person has done in last 2-3 months and how people have built perception around him/her.
This is why at EngazeWell, we have come up with the recommendation to recognize and measure Karma in the real-time. Thus linking purpose of the company with karma, removal of perception based judgment and most importantly the instant recognition and feedback (good or bad).