Cultivating and Validating Dafa as the CEO of a Company
(Minghui.org) I started to practice Falun Dafa in 1997. After graduating from college I founded my own company. As the company’s CEO, I have encountered many cultivation tests.
In today’s corrupt Chinese society, people often violate basic ethical standards when doing business. The question is: “When facing difficulties, should one follow the everyday people’s standards, or follow Dafa’s teaching?”
It is a test for a practitioner. When I deal with problems by adhering to the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, everything and everybody, including co-workers and business partners, become righteous and the problems can be resolved smoothly. Sometimes the results are amazing.
Facing a Mistake with Courage
In the past, I didn’t always treat myself as a practitioner. When doing business I sometimes followed some unspoken rules. Even if some deals were not totally lawful, I went ahead because they were profitable. I tried to work around the loopholes in the laws and make those deals look OK on the surface. Such behavior caused hidden problems.
One of our business partners, who had his own company, borrowed our business license and qualification certificate and used them to do business. One day I got a message informing me that his company was involved in a series of wrongdoings. It would cost both them and us a lot, and we were at risk of being sued.
I was shocked. I approved the collaboration with that company and let them borrow our license and certificate because everything that the company did looked legitimate. I did not foresee any harm.
Facing such a big trouble, I looked inward immediately for my own faults. Letting another company use our license and certificate obviously violated the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. A fellow practitioner had warned me about this. I gave some excuses and didn’t take it seriously. Also, the reason that I agreed to let them use our license was for the profit of “renting out” the license. It was not a lawful deal. My motivation was wrong.
Looking inward, I saw that the trouble was caused by my unrighteousness. As a practitioner, I should face the consequences, take responsibility for where I went wrong, and try my best to rectify the situation.
Many business partners of ours were involved in this incident and the handling process was complex, so we hired a team of professional lawyers. They gave two solutions.
The first solution was that we do not report this to the regulatory authorities and continue the collaboration with that particular company, until we find a way to reduce the damage. It would have been possible to get the damage under control. But the downside was that we would have to conduct more operations that would violate business ethics.
The second solution was to end the collaboration with that company immediately and report the risks to the regulatory authority. The authority may discipline us. More seriously, we may lose our certificate, and other business partners of ours may stop cooperating with us. Our company may face bankruptcy.
I decided to behave like a Dafa practitioner and deal with the problem honestly. It is our responsibility to report the issue to the authorities. I should fix not hide the problem caused by slacking off in cultivation, even if I may face disciplinary action by the authorities. For a cultivator, when facing the question of what to do, the deciding factor should be the Fa, not money.
First, I explained the whole thing and our options to the stakeholders and managers of the company. A few people suggested taking the first option. I understood why everyday people would have such a thought. So I explained why we should do the right thing. During the process of discussion, I could feel everyone’s thoughts became more righteous. Everybody agreed to do the right thing and was willing to accept any penalty.
I then informed the lawyer team of our decision. They pointed out that choosing this option meant that we would face immediate harm, but everything would get better later. We then reported it to the authorities immediately.
To make the regulatory authority pay attention to this issue, I and a few colleagues talked to the officers in person several times. We went into detail and spoke of our decision. I said that we tried to take responsibility for this issue, we will correct our mistakes, and we hope this issue could serve as a wake-up call for those who have made similar mistakes.
At the beginning the officer in charge didn’t understand why we had not chosen the first option. After talking to us several times, he praised us for being honest and responsible.
Honesty Over Deception
We then needed to explain this situation to our other business partners. At that time, another company was trying to cooperate with us on a promising project. The CEO of that company had done a lot of preparation for the collaboration, and the project was about to start. I decided to be honest, and eliminate the attachment to gaining profit. As a responsible partner, I should advise this company about the incident and the possible effect, and let them decide whether to end our cooperative agreement.
I sincerely apologized to the CEO of that company for all the trouble we may have caused. I told them that we were willing to accept the consequences, including the termination of our cooperative agreement.
The CEO of that company pointed out that some of our previous deals didn’t completely follow the rules, but he also praised us for being honest. He found us trustworthy and had more confidence in us.
I saw through this incident that if one follows Dafa’s teachings, one will have a positive impact on other people and things will develop in a positive direction. In daily life and work, everyone makes mistakes. What is important is whether one can face the mistake, find why it happened, correct the mistake, and avoid the mistake happening again. Dafa’s teachings include such a principle. If we sincerely follow the teachings, we are actually validating the Fa.
Besides the above-mentioned company, there were dozens of other companies, which had similar cooperative agreements with us. At that time, the incident was unknown to the public. Some friends of mine suggested to me that it was unnecessary to tell all the partners about the incident. I believed that I should follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and consider others. My colleagues and I called the partners. Some of them trusted us and were willing to continue to cooperate, while others wanted to halt the cooperative actions, and would make decisions after all the possible consequences were known to us. Everyone appreciated our sincerity.
Finally, we were let off lightly by the regulatory authorities, and it didn’t have an impact on our business. The cooperative agreements with other companies were resumed shortly after. As a practitioner, I learned a lesson from the incident. The colleagues and stakeholders also gained some righteous thoughts from the incident and learned how to deal with problems honestly and correctly.
Rectify Business Management Based on Dafa’s Teachings
Because of this incident, I realized that my motivation in my business dealings was the pursuit of profit. Also, our operations often violated ethical standards. My thought was that we should develop the company first, and we would gradually rectify the operations. However, I then realized that running a company was the same as anything else for a cultivator. I should always have a righteous motivation. The root of many problems is unrighteous thoughts, such as letting partners use our license.
I shared my thoughts with fellow practitioners. We came to the understanding that we must follow the high standard of cultivators to run the business, and become a model for other companies in the field. Our motivation for every deal must be righteous. Instead of being selfish, we must be responsible to our clients, partners, and stakeholders. Only then can we develop, and become the model for other companies. Thus, I decided to get rid of the attachments to profit and convenience, and corrected all that was unrighteous.
There were three major loopholes in our operations: kickbacks in sales, under-the-table deals when cooperating, and loopholes in financial management.
I used to give kickbacks to partners who brought business to us. I talked to staff and explained that our standard should be high and we should not violate the ethical requirements, even if stopping kickbacks may have a negative impact in the short term.
When it comes to signed contracts, it would violate the ethical requirements if we continued the contracts, but we could not break the contracts. So, we talked to the partners who signed the contracts, explaining why we needed to stop the deal and hoping they could understand. We told them that we were willing to compensate for any loss they may experience. The process was a test for me. Could I truly put down the attachment to money, and could I really solidly follow Dafa’s teachings. With righteous thoughts, all the partners gave us positive responses. They understood us and were willing to accept the consequences.
When setting up a cooperative transaction, sometimes the partners brought up a request before signing the contract. We used to agree even if these requests could have a negative impact on our clients. I realized that, if everybody’s behavior is pure, the field would be purified and companies with righteous operations would develop. As a whole the field would have a positive impact on society and clients. It is our responsibility to influence our partners and to rectify unsound business practices. Thus, we gradually ended such contracts.
To fix the loopholes in financial management, it is of utmost importance to have righteous motivation. As a cultivator, my motivation should be considering everyone, including colleagues, partners, and clients. I should not have any selfish motivations. Only then can I validate the Fa, and set a model for other people. When making decisions, the most important factor should not be money. I should do it if whatever I do is the correct thing to do, and not do it if it is the wrong thing to do.
I kept telling all of these things to my colleagues, hoping that it would become the values and culture of our company.
Develop Righteous Thoughts and Compassion
When I first founded the company, I thought that the development of the company depended on the development of technology. Later, I realized that developing technology is a team activity. If I was the only technical person in the company, then our technology would be outdated soon. So, I organized a team addressing technology advancement. The structure of the team was well designed, so the team could run automatically and keep our technology ahead of development.
But, all of the above is based on everyday people’s notions. The effects are at the everyday people’s level. At this level, our company and other companies are competitors. If other companies obtained our technology or our secret of running the team, it would do damage to our profits. So, I tried to protect our secrets carefully. To lower the chance of leaking, I didn’t even encourage our team members to cooperate with each other. I felt this wasn’t quite right, but my cultivation level was low and I didn’t have enough wisdom to deal with this issue.
I was stuck at this level for a long time until one day I read what Master Li Hongzhi said:
“Buddhas aren’t supposed to be impoverished; they should be wealthy. The lives there are your riches, and only with them will your paradise be able to thrive. They all count as riches—every life counts as riches.” (“Dafa Disciples Must Study the Fa - Fa Teaching Given at the 2011 Washington DC Metro Area Fa Conference,” Collected Fa Teaching, Vol. XI)
All of sudden, I realized how to handle this issue. All the glories in the universe were created by lives. Every life has virtue and karma, and every life can validate the Fa. Many mechanisms in the Fa run through and affect lives at different levels. I should run the company based on this principle. The most precious asset of a company is the people, not technology. All the achievements of the company are due to everybody’s efforts. At their different levels, people have different amounts of virtue and karma, so they make different amounts of contributions.
Thus, to develop the company, the key is to improve everybody’s level. As the CEO, I should focus on people, not technology. I should not treat employees as parts or tools. My goal should be training them and helping them to develop righteous thoughts and compassion. This way, my motivation would be altruistic, compassionate, and responsible. Even if some employees may leave the company in the future, I still contribute to the field and society by training them.
“If a nationality is to be truly virtuous, it must have little karma; it is certain there will be no wars against it. This is because the principles of Dafa prohibit it, as the nature of the universe governs everything.” (“A Brief Explanation of Shan,” Essentials for Further Advancement)
If I follow this principle, the company will develop faster. This is not because of so-called secrets, but because everyone’s level has improved, so everyone has achieved greater wisdom. If all the companies in the field can follow this principle and become selfless and responsible, nobody will lose anything. Instead, everybody will contribute to the field. The relationship between the companies will not be as competitors, and the relationships between the bosses and employees will not be exhaustive.
One day, a key person in our company wanted to quit. He got an offer from a company in his hometown, and he felt there was limited room for his career development in our company. I understood him. He is a righteous person and had made a lot of contributions to the company. I decided to offer him a better option. Based on his expertise and experience, I created a new position with important tasks for him. This position would help him develop his career. I also designed a series of training programs to help him fit into this position. I told him about my plan. He was very happy and rejected the offer from the other company. He has been doing very well in the new position.
I have tried to be responsible to everyone on every issue. I have always tried to help them improve their levels. The more altruistic I am, the more I am able to treat everyone with compassion. After the incident I mentioned above, I asked everyone to think about what they really wanted to accomplish, hoping everyone would be righteous and improve in the future. This way, some people’s bad thoughts were eliminated. The righteousness implanted in their minds made it easier for me to clarify the truth about Dafa later. I have learned how to validate the Fa and fulfill a Dafa practitioner’s pledge.