May 21, 2013
18 June 2010
To a consulting firm like PricewaterhouseCoopers, gross national happiness (GNH) could be a means towards sustainable development.
Kulvech Janvatanavit, a director and partner on business consulting, explained that GNH, the parametre adopted by Bhutan, sums up the idea what is needed to make people happy. Indeed, to Bhutan, happiness means different things to each individual. It is more important how to align individuals' happiness. For the peace of entire society, happiness of all thus refers to fairness and equality. Ones should not be happy when others suffer. Ones need to share their happiness with others.
Happiness means good relationship of family members and neighbours as well as the environment. Both must go hand in hand. While grandparents are home to take care of grandchildren, the good relationship won't help if the environment is in bad condition. In Bhutan, forests commands over 70 per cent of total area.
Once the people are happy, they extend warm welcome to all guests. Though Bhutan's economic growth is behind many countries', its people's state of mind is more advanced than in many countries.
To Kulvech, such GNH can materialise anywhere in the world, even in a business organisation. A listed company may give high points to the share price, but if GNH is applied, it will focus more on "shared value". With shared value, happiness in the organisation does not satisfy only shareholders and executives, but also employees, clients, suppliers and communities.
"We can't be everything to all, but we can be something to someone," he said, meaning that the shared value could be shared with stakeholders of a particular organisation.
Once the organisation knows what stakeholders need, it could satisfy the stakeholders. Future leaders need to take this into account, as profit and loss is just a tiny part of the overall picture when sustainable development is the true aim. To Bhutan where GNH is applied, all citizens are happy and the aura of happiness is spreading to visitors. To a business organisation, its actions must be based on the balance of three pillars - society, environment and the economy. When this is achieved, all would live happily together.
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