- How to bring Right Livelihood into your next meeting – The Noble 8-Fold Path
By Joe Giordano
This is the fifth article in this series (see links below), where we examine how the Noble 8-Fold Path of the historical Buddha can help you, your team, and your organization build growth by fostering collaboration and agility.
I hope you are beginning to see the connection in my blog posts…what I feel is the biggest connection is that each of the 8-folds has profound implications on the self, and how we impact what is around us. In the world of collaboration and more importantly creative collaboration, the impact we have on others affects their ability to collaborate with us, and in turn helps us all focus on the task at hand—whatever that task may be.
The 5th path is Right Livelihood. According to thebigview.com, Right Livelihood means that one should earn one’s living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that harm other beings and that one should avoid for this reason:
Dealing in weapons
Dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution)
Working in meat production and butchery
Selling intoxicants and poisons.
Furthermore, any other occupation that would violate the principles of Right Speech and Right Action should be avoided. I surmise that Right Livelihood promotes the principle of equality of all living things and respect for all. There are many parallels between these axioms and the way a strong collaborative meeting is run.
- In a Synectics-based meeting we ask that everyone “check their weapons at the door.” What we mean by this is no “heat-seeking-missiles” should be launched during a session. That is, do not say, present, or offer suggestions or ideas that may be construed as derogatory or damaging to others.
- In a Synectics-based meeting we ask that we deal with each other in an open and honest way. We are there to build a climate of openness and safety for all.
- In a Synectics meeting we ask that our individual goal is not to butcher other’s ideas and offerings to the session. That we use our thinking to infuse strength and character to what others are thinking and saying.
- In a Synectics meeting we ask that we don’t poison the climate with negativity, brashness or condescending comments. These can leave a lasting toxicity of climate that will take time to dispel.
- In a Synectics-based meeting, our job, our livelihood, is to contribute to the climate, the thinking and actions taking place in a wholesome, positive manner that will create a lasting impact on those around us. It is truly about choosing the path of respect over anything else, so that the path of respect will choose us.
There is a saying that we hear a lot in meetings when trying to come up with new ideas or implementing ideas: “All things being equal…” my response to this is we need to “Make all things equal.” If we treat everything as equal (people, ideas, outcomes, etc.), then we can truly set aside judgment and find the inner balance that we need to be highly collaborative.
Practice these guidelines in your next meeting, and see how it changes the human dynamics, removing the gridlock (so often a part of a meeting of competing ideas), and creating a truly collaborative, productive interaction of minds.
I spoke in earlier blogs about having Right Actions and Right Intent. If we approach the 8-fold path as interrelated and interconnected then Right Livelihood impacts both of those and they, in turn, impact how we approach Right Livelihood.
See earlier articles in this series