I must confess to being a bit nervous about today’s topic, coming as it does from the Dalai Lama’s meditations on dying. It seems a bit shallow to take such a serious subject and relate it to business. And yet, business is an important part of life, and businesses come to an end, just as lives do.
The Dalai Lama’s view is that we should do all we can to keep someone alive, even if the only life function left is the breathing, when to do so is the wishes of their loved ones, and the family is well-off enough that paying for the care is not a great financial burden.
On the other hand, he says, when there is clearly no hope of recovery, it doesn’t serve anyone – especially the person themselves – to impoverish the family in artificially prolonging a life that is effectively over. In that case, it is time to say goodbye.
I think such decisions are probably easier when your traditions or beliefs mean there is something after this life, and this is just a stage on our spirit’s journey.
Maybe business isn’t that much different. Where the owners – maybe a parent company – can afford it, there is some argument for keeping a business going even after it’s viable lifespan, for the benefit of staff, suppliers and other stakeholders. And also for allowing it to end when it is beyond recovery and draining the owner’s limited reserves.
And that’s an easier decision if you believe the end of this particular business isn’t the end of your adventure.
I bought a neat little book recently - "365 Dalai Lama" - as the title suggests, it's a daily thought from the Dalai Lama. My plan is to use each thought as the inspiration for a blog - and linking the fluffy woo-woo elements to real-world solutions in business and life.