How companies can unleash the full potential of their employees

A human being is not a resource – a human being is a possibility. A possibility means that it is not yet the case. If well fed, everyone is a fantastic possibility; if not properly nourished, everyone is a serious problem – it is the nature of human beings. Whether it is a family, an institution or an organization, it is important to understand that a human being is not an established quantity. This is only a possibility because unlike other creatures, we are not fully developed.

If a tiger is born, it doesn’t have to sit around and wonder how to become a good tiger. If he receives just enough food, he will become a good tiger. But once you are born as a human being, you have to do a lot of things to become a good human being. Even after doing all these things, you still don’t know where you are because what is human is not defined. For all other creatures, nature has drawn two lines. They live and die between these two lines. A human being has reached that point in evolution where there are no more lines. They can become divine or an absolute brute.

For example, if you plant a mango seed and grow it, you don’t have to worry about whether it will grow into a coconut tree or a thorn bush. He can only become a mango tree. In a way, human beings are also born as a seed. But with a human being, they could turn into a sage or a wizard. Depending on how you feed a human being, they can become absolutely fantastic or unimaginable horror.

Today, unfortunately, we try to manipulate the human being as a limited quantity, like a machine – let’s make the most of what we think he is capable of. This is the wrong approach because when I was five no one knew that I would become a Sadhguru. Nobody recognized this possibility. But companies have become so task-oriented that if someone comes to you at twenty-five, you just say, “That’s the task you’re good at, just do that.” It’s a very detrimental way to treat a human being because you treat him as a quantity.

When you talk about a product, let’s say you make soaps, it’s a question of quantity because they are material elements. But even when it comes to a human being, most companies only think about “How much soap can you make as an individual?” If we continue like this, it will seem like we get some sense of efficacy from people at some point, but in many ways we will have snuffed out any possibility.

A human being is not a quantity but a certain quality. A quantity cannot be increased, quantities can only arrive in addition. If one person is not enough, you can add two people; if two isn’t enough, you can make five. But a quality is not like that, it can be improved.

It’s obviously a huge challenge for a company to maintain the ability to truly feed a human being without any fluctuation in their productivity. But at the same time, if we care about the welfare of human beings and keep improving human beings, you don’t have to worry about how many soaps they will make. They will do as much as possible. But that has not been the goal in the world.

The goal in the world is to make a machine out of a human being. Today, thanks to information technology and artificial intelligence, we see how to make a human being out of a machine. When this is the case, isn’t it important that we see how to make a human being as whole as possible? A single company or a single HR person cannot do it. It must become the culture of a nation, of the world.

Wherever simple machine-like efficiency is needed, we should have machines. A machine will only repeat what has been done continuously with the same level of efficiency in the same product. A human being is not just about efficiency; a human being is a matter of ingenuity, a human being is a matter of creativity, a human being is a possibility that can do something that has never been done until now. He is a human being. When you develop this human possibility, that is when we can say that you are truly developing human possibility.

Ranked among the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and New York Times bestselling author. Sadhguru received the Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India in 2017, the highest annual civilian award, given for distinguished service.

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