I am in south of Manila, in my client’s office to deliver a one-day training. They have been my client for the past 5 years and I already have a feel of their needs. I left early from my place to be sure that I won’t get stuck in traffic. Good thing I got here 2 hours before the start of the training.
I have a good first impression of their office building, it is beautiful to say the least. The Japanese inspired architecture is a 2-story building cladded in black and silver, punctuated by vertical picture windows. In the middle is a Zen Garden, an open space full of sunlight with a lone tree protected by a bench. Unfortunately, I do not have a name for the tree. I can only describe it, its branches pointed towards heaven, it leaves look like clasped hands grateful for where it is. Inside the building are walls, and floor mostly of wood, and carpet flooring in some areas to balance the masculine façade.
I do not hear noise. I only hear percolating water and the sound of footsteps from time to time. By this time, after the morning break, people are already in the grove. They are already in their areas working, trying to hit every number in the target. In spite of that, I sense no pressure. That tells me of great leaders who know they work with responsible and accountable people. The good in work and the truth in trusting people makes the place more beautiful.
I also have worked with companies with poor working environment: areas disorganized, dirty and gloomy. People work for the sake of working, living and surviving. There is no spirit, no soul. People come in the morning tired already, leaving the place happy like they have been freed from prison. They company may be making money but that is it, nothing more, no beauty, and nothing that which pleases the eyes.
Most of the time poor environment is a sign of poor leadership and nice environment is a sign of sound leadership unless the values it cultivates is that of not good and untrue which harvests an ugly and gloomy environment.
Beauty is what I used to describe the space, the atmosphere and the environment. Is it beauty that brings good leadership or the other way around? I do not know. I have no answer. It is a chicken and egg issue. But beauty, whether brought by leadership or culture does something. What is it the beauty does?
Beauty is an abstract concept and depends on how one defines beauty, at least in what is seen by the eyes. Beauty, as we know, leads to positive emotions which translates to happy and productive employees. We have experienced that, the power of a nice environment and good leaders. But the point is not really about beauty creating a cocktail of positive emotions, a drug that make us focused at work.
It is more than that, deeper than that, more profound than that. Beauty transcends the senses and connects directly to our spirit, it communicates to us through our intuition. Beauty aligns us with God. Experiencing that which is beautiful is seeing from the eyes of God.