Deepak Chopra, an acknowledged Indian American doctor, spiritual teacher and author, translates EGO to “Edging God Out”. Said differently, the EGO edges out the purpose, the love – and the passion – for something bigger than yourself.
What’s bigger than yourself is what drives the overriding purpose. That which joins humans regardless of differences. That which generates energy across regions and time zones. That which scales an organisation successfully. That which basically makes it an attractive company to work for.
Sometimes, the great love – or passion – is found in difficulties. You can lose the hope, courage and faith and feel like all your efforts – or persistently good behaviour – is in vain. Disappointments, anger and spite can take over, the overriding purpose gets lost, and EGO is in the centre of everything.
It is, however, possible to consider lack of love, aggravating experiences and unplanned hindrances with love and faith in a universal connectedness. You’ll succeed in doing so if you let your heart guide you – also when times are tough – and avoid using the EGO as your compass.
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave a world-known speech for the graduates at Stanford University. Among other things, he said that: “You can only connect the dots looking backwards – so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future”. He spoke about faith, hope, karma, connectedness and the fact that everything that happens is cohesive when viewed retrospectively.
Seen in that perspective, disappointments are turned into possibilities, anger to capitulation, contempt to acceptance, change to development, and the value of consistent good behaviour is confirmed.
Love and passion for something greater create the most amazing global energy, whereas the EGO confines so that the existing stagnates and all development ceases – most of all human development which is needed to show the way forward.
CSR strategies, charitable cooperation between departments, regions, etc. and not least companies’ values if they are followed and strengthened all contribute to people succeeding with moving the EGO out of focus and concentrating on the company and the common good.
If we don’t succeed in focusing on the company’s best interest, and if the passion for something greater has been turned into passion for oneself, the management must act. The EGO has tremendous power and influence and must therefore be kept at bay and reminded of what must come first.
This happens when you appoint, promote and pay attention to the right role models and quickly dispose of the people in the company who work for their own gain if they refuse to conform. There’s no need to give such employees many chances, because if you do so without seeing the desired behaviour, other employees will feel like there’s no point in working with the company’s best interest at heart, and then dilemmas arise. This is especially the case in times of hardship where people doubt whether walking that extra mile for the company is really worth the trouble when you only have to walk half a mile for yourself.
This increases the risk of lacking progress and development as the employees, especially those that you don’t want to lose, are either at risk of leaving the company, with loss of ambassadorship as a result, or continue their work with a change in mindset to being less inclined to walk the extra mile for the company and more inclined to do what’s best for themselves.
The EGO tendencies are spreading in ever-widening circles and must either be pushed in another direction at lightening speed or stopped instantaneously so that new forces can prevail and you can focus on the areas where love and passion is greatest.
A good place to start is with an initial (self-)examination of top management to verify whether the contents match the appearance, and whether self-promotion is scalable and focussed on love for something greater.
Founder of the Global Voices project. Belongingness officer and an experienced People Executive.